What is a Representation Agreement?
A Representation Agreement is a legal document where you, as an adult, appoint another person or persons to help manage your affairs or make decisions on your behalf if you need assistance due to illness, injury or disability. This is the only way to authorize someone to assist you or act on your behalf in health care and personal matters.
The intent of this legal document is to provide a practical alternative for adult committeeship that is more affordable and does not take away your rights if you fall ill, are injured or become disabled. Preparing a Representation Agreement does not remove your decision making rights, it merely gives legal authority to the chosen representatives whom you have appointed to assist you with your personal care or act on your behalf.
There are two forms of Representation Agreements, generally called Section 7 and Section 9 Agreements.
Section 7 Representation Agreements can be made by you at any time, even if your mental capacity or competency is in question. The governing legislation recognizes that capability involves many factors because each person and situation is different. The factors which allow you to sign a Section 7 Representation Agreement may include:
- your ability to communicate a desire to have a representative make, help make, or stop making decisions
- your ability to demonstrate your choice and preference
- your ability to express your feelings of approval or disapproval of others
- your awareness that the terms of the agreement affect you personally
- an indication that the relationship between you and the representative is characterized by trust
Your way of communicating with others is not grounds for deciding that you are incapable of appointing a representative – it is understood that non-verbal gestures, body language and behavior can all be ways of communicating.
Section 7 Representation Agreements authorize:
- assistance for your personal care
- routine management of finances such as bill payment, receipt and deposit of pension or other income
- purchase of food, accommodation and other such services
- making investments
Section 9 requires that you have testamentary capacity to appoint a representative under Section 9. In other words, you must understand the nature and consequences of the proposed representation agreement.
Section 9 Representation Agreements allow much more control over your person, and you may choose to add additional authorizations to your representative, including:
- ability to decide where you should live, work, participate in social or educational activities and associate with other individuals
- ability to give or refuse consent for health care and authorize your physical restraint or movement
Importantly, if the routine management of financial affairs is made to any representative other than a spouse, a monitor must also be appointed or there has to be two representatives who must act together and unanimously. There is also an overarching requirement of all appointed representatives that they consult with you to the greatest extent reasonable to determine your wishes, and to act in your best interest when making decisions on your behalf or helping you make decisions yourself.
A lawyer can help you to understand the wide range of issues that arise with a Representation Agreement. If you would like advice regarding the preparation or amendment of these important legal documents or for more information regarding such matters please contact Chahal Priddle LLP at 250-372-3233 to set up an appointment today.