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If you have fallen ill or need your loved ones to manage your legal and financial affairs, it is important to consider making a Representation Agreement or an Enduring Power of Attorney. In making your decision, you must understand the overlapping functions and differences between these two legal documents. Keep in mind that a Representation Agreement or an Enduring Power of Attorney is different than a will. You can discuss the differences with our Estate Lawyer.

In BC, Representation Agreements are governed by the Representation Agreement Act, RSBC 1996, c. 405 and Enduring Power of Attorneys are governed by the Power of Attorney Act, RSBC 1996, c. 370. Certain amendments have been made to the pursuant Regulations regarding remote signing after the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are sick and need a loved one to make healthcare decisions for you, then you must enter into a Representation Agreement. The person acting on your behalf is called a representative. You can specify the decisions you would like your representative to make and these can include:

  • Healthcare decisions about medical examinations and treatments, medication, and vaccines;
  • Personal decisions about your day-to-day life, such as your diet and activities and where you live;
  • Routine financial decisions, such as depositing money into your bank account, purchasing daily necessities, or making investments; and
  • Legal decisions, such as beginning certain legal proceedings and advising on settlements.

There are certain decisions you cannot assign to a representative, such as authority to decide on Medical Assistance in Dying or commencing divorce proceedings.

Enduring Power of Attorneys cover more major legal and financial decisions, but they do not cover healthcare decisions. The person you appoint in an Enduring Power of Attorney is called your attorney. Your attorney is given the power to make certain decisions for you even if you become mentally incapable. You can decide whether your attorney has the authority to begin acting right away or to only begin acting if you become incapable.

Sometimes, it is advisable to create both an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Representation Agreement. In circumstances where the two documents conflict, such as in financial decision-making, then the Enduring Power of Attorney takes precedence.

Since these two legal documents have serious implications and intersections, it is important to consult with a lawyer in making your decision. Representation Agreements and Enduring Power of Attorneys will help protect you, so please contact our lawyer today to begin the process.

What is a Representation Agreement?

A Representation Agreement is a legal document under British Columbia law that allows you to designate someone (a representative) to make healthcare, personal, and certain financial decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. This includes decisions about medical treatments, personal care, routine financial matters, and some legal decisions.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that designates someone (your attorney) to make significant financial and legal decisions for you, including if you become mentally incapable. Unlike a Representation Agreement, it does not cover healthcare decisions

How do Representation Agreements and Enduring Power of Attorneys differ from a will?

Both documents are distinct from a will. While a will takes effect after your death, dealing with the distribution of your estate, Representation Agreements and Enduring Power of Attorneys are effective during your lifetime, allowing appointed individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so yourself.

Can I have both a Representation Agreement and an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Yes, it’s often advisable to have both, as they cover different areas of decision-making. A Representation Agreement focuses on healthcare and personal care, while an Enduring Power of Attorney covers financial and legal decisions. Having both ensures comprehensive coverage of decision-making for your welfare and estate

What takes precedence if there’s a conflict between a Representation Agreement and an Enduring Power of Attorney?

In situations where there’s a conflict, especially regarding financial decisions, the Enduring Power of Attorney typically takes precedence. This ensures clarity and legal authority in decision-making on your behalf.

Why is it important to consult a lawyer for these documents?

Given the significant legal implications and the specific legal requirements in British Columbia, consulting with a lawyer ensures that your documents are correctly drafted and reflect your wishes. A lawyer can also advise on how these documents interact with each other and with other legal instruments like wills

Have there been any changes to how these documents can be signed?

Yes, amendments to the respective Acts and Regulations now allow for remote signing of these documents, a change implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it more convenient to execute these important documents.

What decisions can I not delegate to a representative under a Representation Agreement?

Certain decisions, such as those regarding Medical Assistance in Dying or initiating divorce proceedings, cannot be delegated to a representative.

How do I start the process of creating these documents?

Contacting an estate lawyer, especially one familiar with British Columbia’s legal framework, is the first step. They can guide you through the process, ensuring that your documents accurately reflect your intentions and comply with current laws.

Pax Law can help you!

Our lawyers and consultants are willing, ready, and able to assist you with any matters regarding family law. Please visit our appointment booking page to make an appointment with one of our lawyers or consultants; alternatively, you can call our offices at +1-604-767-9529.

Categories: Wills

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