In British Columbia, a Representation Agreement is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person or persons, to make important decisions on your behalf. The people you appoint are called your ‘representatives’.
Types of Representation Agreement
There are two types of Representation Agreement. Each allows your representative to help you make decisions, and/or make decisions on your behalf. However, they fulfil slightly different functions.
1. Section 7 Representation Agreement, which grants what are known as a ‘standard powers’
A section 7 Representation Agreement allows your representative to make decisions relating to your health and care, and routine financial and legal matters. This might include paying your bills, deciding where you live and what kind of surgery you have.
You do not need to have full mental capacity in order to put a Section 7 Representative Agreement in place. This is highly unusual and few other places in the world have legislation similar to ours here in British Columbia.
2. Section 9 Representation Agreement, which grants what are known as ‘enhanced powers’
A section 9 Representation Agreement also allows your representative to make decisions relating to your health and care, but the scope extends to end-of-life decisions. However, your representative does not have the authority to manage your finances or legal matters.
To make a Section 9 Representation Agreement, you must have full mental capacity. This means that you understand the nature and consequences of the document. The terms of the agreement will usually come into force should you later lose the ability to make your own decisions, perhaps because of illness, old age or injury, but your representative may also assist you with decision-making while you still have capacity, should you wish for him, her or them to do so.
Representation Agreements and Powers of Attorney
The type of Representation Agreement that you need depends on your requirements and your mental capacity.
Most people elect to execute a Section 9 Representation Agreement they still have all their mental faculties. This is an essential part of future planning, as it ensures all the necessary provisions are in place, should your mental health deteriorate in the future.
In addition to a Section 9 Representation Agreement, it is also prudent to make an enduring Power of Attorney. This gives a person or persons the authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. These powers are more extensive than those permitted under a Section 7 Representation Agreement, and can include very important powers, such as the ability to sell your property.
If you have both a Representation Agreement and an enduring Power of Attorney, you can be certain that your affairs can be taken care of by those you trust, should anything happen to you. It will also make life much easier for your loved ones, because unless these documents are in place, they do not automatically have the legal authority to manage your affairs.
In the absence of a Representation Agreement and enduring Power of Attorney, your spouse, child or other loved one may have to make a committee application, particularly if they want to manage your financial or legal affairs. This can be expensive and time-consuming.
Expert legal advice
This is a very brief overview of what Representation Agreements are and what they can do. If you are thinking of making a Representation Agreement, you need expert legal advice from our estate planning lawyers. There are a number of complexities you need to be aware of, as well as various requirements that you must fulfill if your Representation Agreement is to be valid.
Contact us now
To speak to our estate planning lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us now at North Shore Law LLP.