What is a Representation Agreement?

A Representation Agreement is a document that appoints a person to make health and personal care decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. This is an often overlooked element of estate planning.

While Representation Agreements may grant limited financial authority to the representative, a Power of Attorney is still recommended. This is because the financial powers you can grant under a Representation Agreement are limited to those set out in the legislation, an because institutions such as banks and the Land Title Office may not recognize the authority granted under a Representation Agreement.

Representation Agreements and Advance Directives, prepared in accordance with the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act, have replaced the use of living wills, which were never formally recognized in British Columbia. Representation Agreement and Advance Directives documents contain binding expressions of an adult’s wishes for health care and end of life care.

Under a s.9 Representation Agreement, often referred to as an enhanced or non-standard Representation Agreement, you can authorize your representative to “do anything that the representative considers necessary in relation to [your] personal care or health care” and you can specify specific powers, such as deciding where you should live and what type of activities you should participate in.

When a representative has not been appointed, medical practitioners will obtain substitute consent to provide major and minor health care to an adult in accordance with s.16 of Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act. Under this section, health care providers must first seek instructions from a spouse, then an adult child, followed by a parent, a sibling, or anyone else related by birth or adoption. The substitute decision maker must have had contact with the adult in the past 12 months, and must not have had a dispute with the adult.

By appointing a Representative, you can choose who will make decisions on your behalf, and expand and clarify the powers they will have. You can ensure that the person making decisions on your behalf knows your wishes for personal and health care.

Contact the lawyers at Johnston Franklin Bishop today to set up an appointment to discuss Representation Agreements and Estate Planning.

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