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Representation Agreements: Why You Need To Plan Ahead

Planning for the future can be complicated. Thinking about losing the ability to make important decisions for yourself can be hard. So why is it so important to be proactive?

 

What Is A Representation Agreement?

In British Columbia, a representation agreement is a legal document that allows individuals to make plans for their personal, health, and financial needs in the event that they lose the ability to make decisions on their own. Considered a form of advance care planning, a representation agreement is legally enforceable.

There are two kinds of representation agreements. The Representation Agreement Section 9 (RA9) is considered an ‘enhanced power’ and authorizes a person to make health and personal care decisions on your behalf. A Representation Agreement Section 7 (RA7), considered ‘standard power’ covers health care, personal care, as well as routine financial and legal matters.

Who Can Prepare A Representation Agreement?To prepare either an RA9 or an RA7, you must be an adult aged 19 or over. For an RA9, you must be able to fully understand the implications of making decisions regarding your health and personal care. You must also be keenly aware of what the effects of appointing a representative are or may be.

For an RA7, there are no specific criteria or standards regarding mental capability. According to BC law, every adult in the province can prepare a legal document allowing them to grant authority to a representative, even if they have been declared mentally incapable by a medical professional.

The Limits Of Representation Agreements

Depending on which representation agreement you choose, there may be limits on what authority you can grant your representative. For instance, with an RA7, you cannot authorize your representative to refuse life support on your behalf, nor can they make financial decisions such as purchasing or selling real estate or acting as the director or officer of a company for you.

Given the significance of understanding the many limits and restrictions of representation agreements, having legal support throughout the preparation process important.

Why Prepare A Representation Agreement?

Representation agreements are powerful tools that help safeguard your best interests in the future. In the event that you become incapable of making decisions regarding your health and personal care or financial and legal matters, knowing that a trusted person has been appointed to handle what matters the most can provide tremendous peace of mind.

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