Most people that we meet will (grudgingly) acknowledge that one day in the distant future they will die and that they should have a will or other estate plan to deal with this inevitability.
Many people however fail to realize that as our medical technology and advances in diet and lifestyle allow us to live longer that the possibility of us becoming mentally incapacitated at some time in our life time increases.
If you should become mentally incapacitated and you have taken no steps to plan for it, your loved ones may be unable to deal with your assets, pay your bills or make decisions regarding your care. Often people in this situation either become the legal responsibility of the Provincial Government (through the Public Guardian’s office) or family members are forced to endure the cost and time delay of seeking a court order appointing them to assist you.
The simple solution is to have an enduring power of attorney and a representation agreement prepared while you are healthy and mentally competent.
An enduring power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make financial and legal decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer capable of doing so.
An enduring power of attorney can be used while you still have mental capacity or you can state that you only want it to come into force if you lose mental capacity.
There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make financial decisions for you or act on your behalf. This could just be a temporary situation: for example, if you are in hospital and need help with everyday things such as making sure bills are paid.
Alternatively, you may need to make long-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia and you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
A representation agreement is a power of attorney for personal and health care decisions. Through a representation agreement a capable adult may appoint another adult or adults (a “representative(s)”) to help them make, or to make, personal and health care decisions if they cannot make these decisions on their own.
A representation agreement gives you the opportunity to have your voice heard with regard to your personal and health care matters i.e. where you would like to live, what medical procedures can be carried out, regardless of your incapacity.