It is an unfortunate reality that for some of us, growing older might mean that we find ourselves unable to make our own decisions. A Representation Agreement is a future planning document that you use to appoint one or more individuals to make these important decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so. The individual(s) that you select are known as your “representatives.”
When creating a Representation Agreement, you have two choices:
- Section 7 Representation Agreements are used to grant what are referred to as standard powers. This type of Agreement empowers your representative to make decisions regarding your health care. It also allows them to act on your behalf for some financial and legal matters, such as paying your bills or giving consent for medical procedures. Unlike most other parts of the world, in BC you need not have full mental capacity to put a Section 7 Representation Agreement in place.
- Section 9 Representation Agreements grant what are know as enhanced powers. Like the Section 7 Agreement, a Section 9 empowers your chosen representative to make decisions about your health and care. It goes one step further by allowing them to make end-of-life decisions. This Agreement does not grant authority over your finances or legal affairs, however, and unlike the Section 7, you must be in full control of your mental faculties to put one in place. The terms of this agreement will typically come into effect should you lose your mental capacity, whether from age, illness, or other circumstances. If you desire, your representative can assist you in your decision making while you are still mentally capable.
How do you determine which Representation Agreement is right for you? Essentially, it all comes down to your needs and your mental capacity.
Generally, those who are still in control of their faculties opt for a Section 9 Representation Agreement. This is an important part of planning for your future well-being and should not be delayed. It is infinitely preferable to have it in place long before it is needed than to wait too long.
In the event that you do not have a Representation Agreement when the need arises, your spouse, child, or another loved one will likely need to make a committee application, especially if they are seeking to manage your finances or your legal affairs on your behalf. This will not only be time-consuming but maybe expensive, all at a time that could also prove to be emotionally challenging for them.
If you are ready to prepare a Representation Agreement, give us a call today. We will help you understand the complex issues and meet the requirements to fulfill the creation of a valid document.
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