Why get a Representative Agreement?

It is important for seniors to have their legal documents in place prior to the seniors requiring them. The documents need to be written while they have the mental capacity to understand and appreciate their financial and health situation, the trustworthiness of the proposed adult or company to be legally appointed, what the documents mean, when they take effect and when they are revoked.

Seniors should discuss their individual requirements with a lawyer to ensure that the documents are properly written so their requests are executed as they wish. Listed below is a brief overview of the Representative Agreement.

A Power of Attorney document authorizes seniors to appoint another adult or company to be legally appointed to act on behalf of the seniors to deal with their property or financial affairs. It cannot be used to make a Will or to make health care directions. If a senior does not have the capacity to make a Power of Attorney, then a Standard Representation Agreement or a Committeeship should be considered.

A Power of Attorney can only authorize decisions concerning property and financial matters. It cannot authorize decisions concerning personal and health care matters as a Representation Agreement can. A Representative Agreement can be more expensive than a Power of Attorney because of the expanded scope of the document and the increased complexities of signing it.

The Representative Agreement Act allows a senior who has the mental capacity to do so, to appoint a ‘Representative’ to have authority to deal with or make decisions concerning the senior’s personal and health care, property and financial affairs according to the terms of a written Representation Agreement. More than one Representative can be appointed. A Representative Agreement can become effective on the date the Agreement is signed, or on a future date specified in the Agreement. It will expire on the death of the senior or upon termination of the Agreement by the senior in accordance with the Act. This is a document that can be used to plan for incapacity.

There are two types of Representative Agreements – The Standard Agreement and the Enhanced Agreement. The Standard Agreement authorizes a Representative to deal with basic day to day health care decisions and basic financial matters. The Enhanced Agreement can authorize a Representative to make decisions with respect to more complex health matters, including life support decisions.

The Act requires that a Monitor be appointed for an Enhanced Agreement unless the appointment is specifically waived. A Monitor is an adult who is appointed to have an active duty supervising the Representative.

The anxiety of seniors should be eased by having legal documents properly written and witnessed. The documents should be updated on a regular basis to ensure that any changes required are made and that the choices remain those of the senior.

For more information contact Roy Sommerey at Doak Shirreff www.doakshirreff.com.