Your protection situation

Have you signed a protection mandate? A general power of attorney?

Without a protection mandate (formerly called mandate in case of incapacity)

If you were incapable, any interested person (spouse, parents, public curator, etc.) could apply for the court to institute a tutorship for you. Medical and psychosocial evaluations would be obtained and you would be questioned. A group of relatives, kin or friends would be convened. Finally, a judgment would be rendered declaring you incapable and naming a tutor. It is possible that your spouse will be chosen to administer your property and take care of you, but another choice could be made. The tutor would have to report to the public curator every year. In addition, your spouse will have to justify the use of your property for his or her personal benefit, and this may not be possible in a common-law relationship.

With a protection mandate

The protection mandate allows you to avoid the involvement of the public curator and to choose for yourself who will take care of you and your property should you become incapable – for example, your spouse. You can also provide for a replacement in the event that your mandatary is unable to fulfil this role. You can state that your mandatary can use your assets to meet the needs of your spouse. You can also decide how much latitude to give to your mandatary in the administration of your property. For example, will you allow your mandatary to sell your house?

Power of attorney combined with a protection mandate

It is possible to combine a power of attorney and a protection mandate in the same document. The advantage of this is that the power of attorney comes into effect as soon as it is signed and remains valid until the protection mandate is ratified. Care is in order, however, as a mandatary who has been granted extensive administrative powers may take advantage of this situation. To avoid such abuses, certain solutions should be considered, including:

  • Limit the powers to simple administration in the general power of attorney
  • For powers that exceed simple administration, subject the execution of the mandate to the approval of a professional (e.g., a notary)
  • For a notarized power of attorney, ask the notary not to issue any copies unless the mandator gives formal authorization and not to alert the mandatary of the existence of the power of attorney until the need arises
  • Name two or more mandataries, including a professional, and stipulate that they must always act by majority or unanimity, as the case may be

Do you know the amount of the monthly benefit you would receive in the event of a short-term disability? A long-term disability? Is it enough to cover your needs?

Your disability insurance coverage should be sufficient to maintain your current standard of living and your retirement savings. Since disability insurance benefits generally end at age 65, it is important to provide for retirement capital (registered or not) to allow you to maintain your standard of living in retirement. To do this, you need to purchase retirement protection.

If you pay your own disability insurance premiums, the income you need to protect in the event of disability is equal to your monthly work income less taxes and other deductions – in other words, your net income.

If your employer pays part or all of your disability insurance premiums, your disability insurance benefits will be taxable, so you will need to protect your gross or before-tax income.

If you travel outside of Quebec, do you purchase travel insurance?

According to the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec website, when travelling abroad:

"The Régie de l'assurance maladie reimburses at pre-set rates the cost of hospital services received as a result of a sudden illness or an accident, as follows:

  • a maximum of CA $100 per day for hospitalization;
  • up to CA $50 per day for healthcare received at a hospital outpatient clinic. For hemodialysis and the required medication, the Régie reimburses up to CA $220 per treatment, regardless of whether the person is hospitalized."

Before you leave, you should check whether your group insurance includes travel insurance that repays medical and hospitalization costs abroad. If not, buy individual insurance.

Good travel insurance includes cancellation insurance (before the trip) and interruption insurance (during the trip).

The example below, from the Régie de l'assurance maladie website, is a good illustration of the risk you are taking if you travel without travel insurance.

What the Régie pays

Example of what the Régie pays when an insured person is hospitalized in intensive care for three days in Florida after a heart attack:

Hospital services

Amount charged
$25,000 CA

Amount covered by the Régie
$300 ($100 CA per day)

Amount payable by the patient
$24,700 CA

Professional services

Amount charged
$1,000 CA

Amount covered by the Régie

Amount payable by the patient
$565 CA


Amount charged
$26,000 CA

Amount covered by the Régie

Amount payable by the patient
$25,265 CA

If you own an business:

Do you have a shareholders agreement? Does it still reflect your situation?

A shareholders agreement (or partnership agreement) is a legal document. Its main purpose is to set out in advance how to handle various situations that may occur among the shareholders, such as a death, a retirement, a temporary or permanent disability, or a conflict. If there is a conflict, the agreement must provide the means to resolve it.

Why should shareholders who see the future shining before them sign such an agreement? Well, we could answer this question by saying that this kind of agreement allows them to determine now, while relations are still good, how they can effectively resolve conflicts that may occur if their current optimism were one day to become tarnished.

Have you taken all necessary measures to ensure the survival of your business in the event of your disability?

If you have a business, you should have a disability clause in your shareholders agreement. This clause should spell out the conditions for the redemption of your shares if you become disabled permanently or for a long period of time, such as two years. The clause should also provide a special management mechanism during your absence due to disability or incapacity. It is a good idea to consult a legal expert on this matter.

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