It's Never Too Late To Have a Plan
Personal planning allows you to make arrangements to prepare for when you are unable to manage your own affairs or you must rely on someone to make these decisions for you. Personal planning involves all areas of your life, including:
You can stay in control of your future and make your own legally enforceable legal, financial, health and personal care arrangements with those you trust. This can also give your family and friends the peace of mind when the time comes to make some of these decisions. Life is unpredictable; there are many factors such as age, illness or a sudden accident that can significantly change everything. In B.C., we have the option to address personal planning wishes legally.
- Legal and financial affairs
- Health and personal care
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints another person, called an "Attorney" to deal with your legal and financial decisions on your behalf. It may give one the authority to pay your bills, deposit and/or withdraw money from your bank account, make gifts, loans, donations or deal with your real estate. A Power of Attorney can be for a specific purpose and/or specific time period, such as selling your real estate property; or it can be general which allows your Attorney to do anything that you could lawfully do. A Power of Attorney does not allow your Attorney to make a Will or make health and personal care decisions on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is only valid while you still alive and it can be registered.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows your Attorney to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incompetent due to age, an accident (i.e. brain injury) or an illness (i.e. a stroke, Alzheimer's or dementia). The Enduring Power of Attorney is only valid if the document states that the Attorney's authority continues in the event that you become incapable.
What is a Bank Power of Attorney?
Banks and other financial institutions may have Powers of Attorney to cover financial affairs specific to that institution. This will not allow your Attorney to deal with other financial or legal matters.
Who can be an Attorney?
You can choose any one you trust to be your Attorney as long as they are 19 years old or older; however, it cannot be someone that is paid to provide personal or health care services to you. An exception to this rule is if the Attorney is your parent, spouse or child. A Power of Attorney is a very powerful document, so you should choose someone you completely trust. Most importantly, it is essential to discuss with your Attorney their role, duties and responsibilities before you appoint them as they are not obligated to act on your behalf and can resign if they want to.
Can I change or revoke my Power of Attorney?
Yes, you can change or revoke your Power of Attorney as long as you are capable. If you make a new Power of Attorney, it does not automatically revoke your previous one. There are specific rules and it is your responsibility to advise the attorney and any third parties (i.e. financial institutions) of any changes or revocations.
Can I appoint more than 1 Attorney?
Yes, you can and you can stipulate in your Power of Attorney whether they can act separately, together, when they can act or different areas of authority. It is your choice.
What is a Representation Agreement?
A Representation Agreement ("RA") is a legal document that appoints another person, called a "Representative" or multiple Representatives, to assist in making legal, financial, health and/ or personal care decisions on your behalf if you become incapable. It includes providing or withholding consent for specific medical procedures or treatments. You can also allow your Representative to have the authority over routine management and financial affairs.
What is a Section 7 Representation Agreement?
A Section 7 ("S.7") Representation Agreement ("RA") is a limited agreement that covers minor (i.e. medications) and major health care (i.e. surgery), personal care, legal affairs and routine financial affairs for those individuals who are not competent to make an Enduring Power of Attorney.
What is a Section 9 Representation Agreement?
A Section 9 ("S.9") Representation Agreement ("RA") allows your Representative to make legal, personal and health care decisions including refusal or withdrawal of life support. You must be mentally competent to make this type of agreement as you have to be capable of understanding the nature and consequences of a S.9 RA.
Who Should have a Representation Agreement?
Any adult that wants a specific person or persons to deal with their health and/ or personal care decisions. This is especially important for adults that do not have a spouse and/or children or adults faced with a situation where their children will not mutually agree when taking decisions.
What is an Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive, also known as a Living Will, is a legally binding document that is a set of written instructions made by a capable adult to their health care provider to consent or refuse health care in the event they are incapable when the health care is required. An Advance Directive is more appropriate for someone who is terminally ill; however, it is important to discuss health care issues with your doctor because every situation is different.