Skip to main content

Shocking Statistics on Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements


by Richard Bell

We hate to be alarmists but Bell Alliance recently conducted interviews with 135 real estate clients about Wills, Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. We were very surprised and quite frankly shocked by the results.

The interviews were conducted with clients who were buying, selling or refinancing real estate and who had not dealt with Bell Alliance in the preparation of estate and personal planning documents. Most people know that a Will provides for how you wish to distribute your assets upon death. However, there seems to be less familiarity with Powers of Attorney and Representations Agreements. These are documents whereby you are appointing someone to manage your legal and financial affairs and health care decisions when you are unable to do so.

The study showed that approximately 50% of the clients had Wills. Remembering that the clients were owners of real estate, it is likely that this number as a percent of the overall adult population would be significantly lower when you include renters and younger adults. The statistics not surprisingly show older adults are more likely to have Wills than younger adults.

There is a dramatic drop when asked about Powers of Attorney with only approximately 30% of the clients having prepared a Power of Attorney and an even further drop to approximately 20% for Representation Agreements.

This is very concerning as other statistics show that very few of us will die of a sudden cause. The good news is we are, on average, living longer but the bad news is that most of us will live with some physical or mental disability that makes it difficult or impossible to manage our personal affairs – and the triggering event could happen suddenly.

The other concerning element of the study is whether or not this low incidence of proper personal planning results from a failure by the legal profession and other advisors to fully advise clients on the importance of these documents. At Bell Alliance we stress the importance of not only planning for death to protect your family but planning for physical or mental incapacity. Almost 100% of our clients elect to have us prepare these critical documents.

CONCLUSION: If you have not done a Power of Attorney or Representation Agreement consult your professional advisor (or us :)). For more information go to and also Nidus is a not for profit planning resource centre and registry that has some helpful information. We recommend you register your Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement with Nidus. The police and health care staff have access to the database and in the event of an emergency they will be able to quickly connect with the person appointed as the Attorney or Representative.

Subscribe to our newsletter for advice, tips, and the latest news.