Many of the clients we meet will acknowledge that at some point in the distant future they will pass away, and when this happens, they should have a will or an estate plan which will aid everyone involved when this happens.
What people may not realize, however, is modern technology in medicine and an adapted diet and lifestyle has allowed our bodies to live longer than sometimes we expect. Even if there is a possibility for our mental capacity to be affected at some point in our later lives.
If a person becomes mentally incapacitated and they have not taken the appropriate steps to plan for it, their loved ones may be unable to personally handle their assets, pay any bills that are outstanding, or make the proper decisions regarding the incapacitated person’s care.
In these types of situations, people often become the legal responsibility on the provincial government, more specifically the Public Guardians Office, or family members have no option but to endure the cost and delay in trying to seek a court order that would grant them the authority to make decisions on the family members health.
If this is something that worries you, then the solution is to have an enduring power of attorney and a representation agreement prepared while you are healthy and have the mental capacity to make such agreements.
An enduring power of attorney is a legal agreement in which you appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you no longer have the capacity to do so, as well as deal with any real estate property you may own. This document can be used while you still have mental capacity, or you may state in the power of attorney that you only wish for it to come into force if you lose your mental capacity.
There could be a number of reasons why you might need someone to make financial decisions on your behalf; for example, if you are in hospital and need assistance with everyday tasks such as making sure bills are paid on time. On the other hand, you may need to make long-term plans that look farfetched at the time of creating the document. For example, if you have been diagnosed with dementia, you may be seen as not having the appropriate mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
What are Representation Agreements?
A representation agreement is a legal agreement in which you can appoint one or multiple people to make personal and health care decisions on your behalf. The decision-making authority you grant under a representation agreement only comes into effect upon your own incapacity, so no one make these decisions for you while you are capable.
Many clients think that a representation agreement is not beneficial as their next of kin already has medical decision-making ability in the event of their incapacity. And while your next of kin has basic medical and personal care decision-making powers under the law, a representation agreement appoints them additional powers such as access to additional health care methods and the ability to request medical reports on your behalf.
Also, a representation agreement allows you to lay out your wishes for medical treatment in specific circumstances to help guide your representative to make more challenging medical decisions, as such decisions can be very emotional ones to make.
Our legal team is here to help. We understand that estate planning can seem a bit daunting, but we are here to support you with every step.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will take it from there.