Those who have experienced life-threatening situations understand the appeal of life and critical illness insurance. But are those protections enough?

“[Couples] need to consider having a mandate in case of incapacity. This is particularly important if you’re common-law spouses and thus not recognized by the civil code,” says Hélène Marquis, regional director of Wealth Advisory Services, CIBC Private Investment Consultation.

Without such a mandate, it can be difficult for one partner in a relationship to gain access to critical information should an accident or illness occur. With a mandate, the doctors will have the right to talk to your client and consider his advice if he’s making a decision for his common-law partner.

Read: Educate clients about advanced care directives

When a loved one is in danger, nobody wants to spend time fighting with banks.

“It’s not easy to obtain information from a bank for your mortgage or from an insurance company for benefits if you don’t have something which proves you have the mandate to do so,” says Marquis.

The mandate can become more complicated if the incapacitated partner owns a business.

Read: Canadian couples avoiding insurance talk

“I had a case where a couple owned a lot of buildings. The mandate provided that the spouse could administer and manage them on behalf of the spouse if something happened to him. That was a very complex document,” says Marquis.

Read: Advisors must help clients plan their deaths

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