Powers of attorney are important documents with specific legal restrictions on who can witness the signature of the grantor and of the attorney. The restrictions are the law and cannot be ignored.
Powers of attorney require execution by the grantor (the person giving the power of attorney) in the presence of two witnesses, each of whom must sign the document as witnesses (Substitute Decisions Act, s. 10(1)). Certain persons are disqualified as witnesses:
- the attorney or the attorney’s spouse or partner;
- the grantor’s spouse or partner;
- a child of the grantor or a person whom the grantor has demonstrated a settled intention to treat as his or her child;
- a person whose property is under guardianship or who has a guardian of the person; and
- a person under 18 years of age.
Despite these formal requirements for execution, a court may declare the efficacy of a continuing power of attorney that does not comply with them “if the court is satisfied that it is in the interests of the grantor or his or her dependants to do so” (Substitute Decisions Act, s. 10(4)).
If you have any questions about the above restrictions, Notary Pro Canada encourages you to obtain independent legal advice before signing any power of attorney.