What are the legal responsibilities of an attorney named in a Power of Attorney POA?

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An attorney under a POA must act in the best interests of the adult while taking the adult’s best wishes and values into consideration: British Columbia Power of Attorney Act s. 19(2). Section 19 of the British Columbia Power of Attorney Act provides that when acting as an attorney (unless the POA specifically provides otherwise) the attorney must:

1) Act honestly and in good faith;
2) Exercise the care, diligence, and skill of a reasonably prudent person;
3) Respect any limitations in the Power of Attorney;
4) Keep a record of all dealings with the property, including all bank and investment accounts; this includes but is not limited to, maintaining a list of the properties and liabilities, the estimated value of the properties, invoices, bank statements, and all records about how the attorney exercises authority as an attorney. The attorney may be required to produce those records (and provide copies) at any time;

5) When making decisions about finances, the attorney must take into account:
a. The adult’s current wishes;
b. The adult’s known beliefs and values; and
c. Any directions given in the POA document;

6) When managing finances, give priority to the adult’s personal care and health care needs, to the extent reasonable;
7) Invest property only as directed by the British Columbia Trustee Act, meaning the attorney must invest only in property or security in which a prudent investor might invest;
8) Foster the adult’s independence and encourage the adult’s involvement in any decision-making that affects the adult, to the extent reasonable;
9) Keep the adult’s personal effects at the adult’s disposal, to the extent reasonable; and
10) Keep the adult’s property separate from the attorney’s property unless the property is jointly owned by the adult and their attorney (and was held jointly before the attorney was named), or has been substituted or derived from jointly owned property.

According to section 20 of the British Columbia Power of Attorney Act, an attorney may make a gift or loan from the adult’s property if the enduring POA permits the attorney to do so or if

(a) the adult will have sufficient property remaining to meet the personal care and health care needs of the adult and the adult’s dependants, and to satisfy the adult’s other legal obligations if any;

(b) the adult, when capable, made gifts or loans of that nature; and

(c) the total value of all gifts and loans in a year is equal to or less than a prescribed value.

According to the Power of Attorney Regulation, BC Reg 20/2011, s.3, prescribed means the lesser of 10% of the adult’s taxable income for the previous year, or $ 5,000.