A Representation Agreement appoints a representative, or multiple representatives, to make decisions regarding an individual’s health and personal care in the event they are unable to communicate their own wishes.
Depending on how the Representation Agreement is prepared, a designated representative’s authority can include:
- decisions regarding healthcare, personal care, and limited legal affairs
- refusal or consent to life support treatment and care
- consent to less common medical procedures/treatment
- consent to treatment the Adult approved while capable but since losing capacity has refused to consent
- deciding on living arrangements for the Adult including choosing a care facility
- routine finances
A Notary can help determine the appropriate scope for specific representative(s).
Who should have a Representation Agreement?
- Any adult who wants to ensure that a specific person or persons are appointed to make decisions for them, especially if they have no spouse; or no spouse and no children, or if their children are in conflict with one another or would not be good decision makers.
Who should I appoint in my Agreement?
- Most people appoint a spouse or partner, family member, or friend, in their Agreement. Those you appoint may live in another city, province, or country.
- There are many factors to consider when choosing who to involve in your Representation Agreement, such as: your trust in them, their skills and abilities, and their understanding of your wishes and values.
What roles are available in a Representation Agreement?
There are three roles described in the Representation Agreement Act:
- A representative is the person who has legal authority to assist you or to act on your behalf.
- An alternate representative is a back-up in case your representative is unable or unwilling to act.
- A monitor is a safeguard and ensures that the Representation Agreement is working for you. A monitor does not make decisions for you.
It is important that everyone named in the Representation Agreement communicates and works well with one another.
What are the duties of a representative?
- The duties of a representative are outlined in Section 16 of the Representation Agreement Act, which says that your representative must act honestly, in good faith, and within the law. Your representative’s first responsibility is to assist you to make your own decisions.
- If your representative has to make a decision on your behalf, he or she must check with you first to determine your current wishes. If your current wishes cannot be determined or are not reasonable to carry out, then any pre-expressed wishes must be followed. If these are unknown, decisions are made according to your values and beliefs. As a last resort, your representative may make a decision based on what he or she thinks is best for you (your best interest).
Does my representative get paid?
- Representatives, alternate representatives, and the monitor are entitled to be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to carrying out their duties.
- The law says you cannot pay a representative for making health care decisions on your behalf. If you want to pay your representative(s) a fee for other areas of authority, this must be spelled out in the Agreement and it must be authorized by the B.C. Supreme Court.
When should I make a Representation Agreement?
- The best time to make an Agreement is before a crisis occurs. When you turn 19 years old, the age of majority in B.C., parental rights end and no one, not even your spouse, has legal authority
to manage your affairs if you cannot do so. This may present a problem if you need help due to an illness or injury.
- Most people will make more than one Representation Agreement in their lifetime.
When does an Agreement take effect?
- A Representation Agreement is in effect when the adult and witnesses have signed. Depending on the set up of the Agreement, at least one representative and the monitor, if one is named, must also sign. Each additional representative and alternate must also sign before they can act. To be safe, it is a good idea for everyone to sign as soon as possible. The Agreement will stay in the drawer until needed, but be ‘ready to use’ in case of an emergency.
- You can include a statement in your Agreement to say it will come into effect at a later time. This requires careful consideration and specific wording to be sure it will come into effect at the times you need it.
Can I revoke my Representation Agreement?
- Yes, you can revoke/cancel your Representation Agreement. The Representation Agreement Act outlines specific requirements for revoking. Making a new Representation Agreement does not automatically cancel your previous one.
When does a Representation Agreement end?
- A Representation Agreement ends if you revoke it or when you die. An Agreement also ends if someone is appointed to be your legal guardian (i.e. Committee of Estate and/or Committee of Person) through the B.C. Supreme Court. The financial and legal authorities in your Representation Agreement end if the Public Guardian and Trustee takes them over.
What is not covered by a Representation Agreement?
- When people are planning for the future, it is common that they will make an Enduring Power of Attorney to cover financial and legal affairs and a Representation Agreement to cover health and personal care matters. Making an Enduring Power of Attorney is important if you own real estate property, as the authority for routine financial affairs under the Representation Agreement does not include dealing with real estate.