News release

Powers of Attorney Act Amendments Proclaimed

Legislation that further protects people who choose to use a power of attorney to oversee their affairs is now in effect.

The amendments to the Powers of Attorney Act modernize and improve the legislation by adding new safeguards and clarifying the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved.

“Nova Scotians who are planning for the future want their finances and other matters to be managed according to their wishes,” said Justice Minister Brad Johns. “These changes allow for more oversight of those appointed as attorney, with the intention being to prevent financial misuse or any type of abuse.”

Powers of attorney are important advance planning tools for adults who wish to appoint a person they trust to make decisions for them related to property and finances. The individual granting the powers of attorney, called the donor, may appoint someone for a specified period of time and can opt to keep the powers of attorney in place if they become incapacitated.

The amendments now in effect include:

  • a list of the donor’s rights and protections, including additional safeguards such as being able to choose to appoint a monitor to whom the attorney must also report periodically and upon request
  • new requirements for the valid execution of a power of attorney, including that it be in writing, dated and witnessed by two people
  • modern concepts of capacity, including an outline of the required approach to decision-making.

More amendments to further improve the legislation are planned. The next phase of work will include consultations.


The changes will bring peace of mind for many older Nova Scotians and help ensure they have the respect and security they deserve. Abuse is unacceptable in any form, and protection from financial abuse, in particular, is a concern for seniors. Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care

Out of concerns for the seniors of Nova Scotia, CARP Nova Scotia has been advocating for these changes, and we are pleased and relieved to see many of our recommendations included in the act to protect our seniors. Roy Hayward, Chair, Financial Security Advocacy Committee, CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Persons) Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • the Powers of Attorney Act has been in place since 1988 and had minor amendments since then
  • the amendments above were passed in the legislature in April

Additional Resources:

Legal Info Nova Scotia – Power of Attorney: