Substitute decision-making documents (also called powers of attorney, proxies, personal directives, etc…) delegate authority to one person to act on behalf of another with respect to financial, property or legal affairs and/or personal or health care matters. A valid substitute decision-making document must conform to the laws of the jurisdiction where it is executed.
Execution requirements, however, are not uniform across jurisdictions. As a result, a substitute decision-making document may not be recognized outside of the jurisdiction in which it was made. This creates problems for people who hold assets or spend significant time in two or more jurisdictions; they may have to turn to specific statutory provisions in order to have their substitute decision-making documents recognized in a jurisdiction other than the one where the document was made.
Unfortunately, not all jurisdictions have statutory rules governing the recognition of foreign substitute decision-making documents, and those that do often differ from place to place. Even within Alberta, there are gaps and inconsistencies in the statutory recognition rules governing the different types of substitute decision-making documents.
To address this problem, in August 2016, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (”ULCC”) approved the Uniform Interjurisdictional Recognition of Substitute Decision-Making Documents Act (”the Uniform Act”). The Uniform Act complements existing provincial and territorial legislation by providing recognition provisions where none exist, and by supplementing current provisions that lack the desirable features of the Uniform Act.
This Report for Discussion by the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) reviews the Uniform Interjurisdictional Recognition of Substitute Decision-Making Documents Act (2016) and considers whether it is suitable for implementation in Alberta.