Power of Attorney

Accessing benefits on behalf of a plan member

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which one person gives another person the authority to act on their behalf in specified circumstances. It can provide authority to make decisions about an individual’s property or financial matters (including a group benefits plan), a person’s personal care, or both.

Choosing someone to act as your power of attorney is a decision one should make carefully. The Frequently Asked Questions (listed below) provide answers to commonly asked questions about Powers of Attorney.

For additional information about your specific circumstances, we recommend connecting with a personal financial advisor or a legal professional.

Yes, you can. One way to do this is to have a Power of Attorney in place before something happens.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document giving someone the ability to make decisions on your behalf. Generally, there are three types of POA’s1:

  1. A Continuing POA for Property - Lets an individual make decisions about possessions, home, and finances for someone, even if that person becomes mentally unable to do so. This will allow you to access group benefits plan information for your loved one.
  2. Non-Continuing POA - Lets an individual make decisions about possessions, home, and finances for someone else. Example: if someone was out of the country for a long time, they could name a person to make their financial decisions.
  3. POA for Personal Care - Lets an individual make medical and other personal decisions such as housing for someone who is unable to do so.2

You can use a Manulife Authorization to Designate Access form3. This form allows the person listed access to benefit information of the plan member and their dependents. To obtain a form, call 1-800-268-6195. Representatives are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00AM to 8:00PM EST.

If you designate a Power of Attorney to act on your behalf, you should inform Manulife as soon as possible. Make sure the documents meet the requirements of a POA in your province or territory.

If you have any other products with Manulife, such as a group retirement savings plan, you should send the Power of Attorney to these departments to process the information. 

The process can take between 3-5 business days before the POA will be granted access to the plan member’s information.4

The individual needs to identify they’re the POA on file, provide your name, group number and certificate. 

No, a Power of Attorney becomes void after the plan member passes and they lose their access.

No, a partner or spouse cannot give verbal permission to gain access to the plan member’s benefits information. You would need to be assigned access by either a POA for Property or a Manulife Authorization to Designate Access form.3

A Continuing POA will become effective when it is signed or at a later date set out in the document. We don’t require a doctor’s note unless the terms of your Continuing POA require one.

  1. 1 Applicable names and rules can vary by province or territory
  2. 2 Does not apply to group benefits
  3. 3 There is a limit to the information you would be able to access. For example, Manulife cannot provide plan member secure site login information.
  4. 4 This process may take longer if there are any issues with the POA submitted.

The information in this document is based on the POA rules in Ontario. Applicable names, rules and process can vary by province or territory.

This article is published by The Manufacturer’s Life Insurance Company (Manulife) to provide information about current issues and assist in the decision-making process. The article, however, is not intended to provide medical, financial, counselling, or legal advice and any queries you may have should be directed to an appropriate professional advisor.

Group Benefit products and services are offered by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife).

Manulife, Manulife and Stylized M Design, and Stylized M Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license. ©2022 The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. All rights reserved. PO Box 2580 STN B Montreal QC H3B 5C6