Personal Planning documents include a Power of Attorney, a Representation Agreement, and a Health Care Directive.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney appoints someone (called the “Attorney”) to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become injured or incapacitated. The responsibilities may include paying bills, depositing or withdrawing money from your bank account, investing your money, even selling your home.
A Power of Attorney can be very specific, such as granting your Attorney permission to manage your business or rental property or it can be very broad in its scope. The document is very important as a way to plan for smooth sailing.
People tend to believe Powers of Attorney are needed only for elderly people but Powers of Attorney are important for younger people, too.
If You Don’t Have a Power of Attorney and You Become Injured or Incapacitated
A family member must apply to the Court of British Columbia to become your Committee (pronounced Com-i-tay). That is a very slow and expensive process that may cause stress and financial burden to your family members.
• Your Power of Attorney is in effect only while you are alive.
• The Power of Attorney document does not give the Attorney the authority to make health-care decisions on your behalf.
• It is the Representation Agreement that appoints someone to make health care decisions for you, if you are not able to do so.
Why You Need a Power of Attorney
• You may become physically unable to look after your own affairs.
• You may become mentally incapable due to illness, disease, or accident.
• You work in an environment where accidents frequently occur or you engage in dangerous recreational hobbies or sports.
• You are going to be out of the country and need someone to look after your affairs while you are away.
What is a Representation Agreement?
It provides you the power to appoint a family member or friend who will speak on your behalf. Your Representative can make health care decisions on your behalf and speak for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes.
Why You Need a Representation Agreement
• A Representation Agreement is beneficial to those who do not have a spouse or children. It gives your representative the legal authority to make health-care decisions on your behalf.
• If you have children who do not get along, the document can appoint one child to speak on your behalf.
What is a Health Care Directive?
A Health Care Directive (formerly known as a Living Will) is a document that specifically outlines your end-of-life decisions. It provides written instructions to give or refuse consent to some or all forms of health care in the event you are unable to provide instructions at the time health care is required for you.
The document does not appoint a specific person to provide those instructions. You need a Representation Agreement for that.
Why You Need a Health Care Directive
• A Health Care Directive provides clarity around your health care wishes.
• It assists family members or your representative to consciously support your health care wishes.
Please contact me for more information.