Q: My wife’s sister has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and is now living in a retirement home with some assistance. She named my wife Power of Attorney. Can my wife claim a fee for looking after her and her affairs?
—Terry Dickson, Kitchener, Ont.
A: Your wife can claim a fee as Power of Attorney, because you reside in Ontario. Other provinces handle the matter differently, but in Ontario you can claim 3% of the monies received and disbursed by the grantor, and a management fee of 3/5ths of 1% of the average annual value of the grantor’s assets. (That is, unless a different fee arrangement had been laid out in the Power of Attorney document that your wife’s sister signed.) Toronto estate lawyer Ambie Edgar-Chana cautions that when you’re compensated you “will be held to the benchmark of an expert in managing the grantor’s financial affairs, and if you fall short you can be held financially liable, personally.” Keep meticulous records and be prepared to justify your decisions. It’s serious business, being Power of Attorney, but I’m sure your family is grateful you’re taking the lead.