Bc Representation Agreement Vs Power of Attorney

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to plan for our future. One of the most critical aspects of this planning is to ensure that our legal affairs are in order. In British Columbia, two of the most widely-used legal documents for this purpose are the Representation Agreement and the Power of Attorney. While both of these documents allow someone to act on our behalf should we be unable to do so, they are fundamentally different in their scope and purpose.

Representation Agreement

A Representation Agreement (RA) is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint a person to make decisions on their behalf in the event that they lose their capacity to do so. The RA can be as specific or general as the individual wishes, and it can cover personal or healthcare decisions, as well as financial matters.

There are two types of Representation Agreements in British Columbia: the standard RA and the Enhanced Representation Agreement (ERA). The ERA gives the representative greater powers than the standard RA and allows them to make decisions about the individual`s finances, legal affairs, and even their personal care.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney (POA) is another legal document that grants an individual the power to act on another person`s behalf. However, unlike the RA, the POA is restricted to financial and legal matters. A POA typically grants the appointed person the power to manage the individual`s bank accounts, pay bills, and make decisions on their behalf regarding business transactions.

Importantly, a POA does not grant the appointed person the power to make decisions about the individual`s personal or healthcare matters. These decisions are outside the scope of a POA and require a Representation Agreement.

Which One is Right for You?

Deciding whether to use a Representation Agreement or a Power of Attorney depends on an individual`s specific needs and preferences. If someone is concerned about the possibility of losing their capacity for decision-making, a Representation Agreement is likely the better option. It allows them to appoint a trusted individual to make decisions about their care and medical treatment if they are unable to do so themselves.

Alternatively, if someone is primarily concerned about managing their finances and legal affairs, a Power of Attorney might be more appropriate. This document grants the appointed person the power to act quickly and efficiently on behalf of the person who granted the POA. However, it is important to note that the POA does not address personal care decisions, which means that a separate Representation Agreement would be necessary in case of incapacity.

Conclusion

When planning for the future, it is essential to consider both Representation Agreements and Powers of Attorney. These legal documents provide an individual with peace of mind, knowing that they have appointed a trusted person to act on their behalf should they lose their capacity for decision-making. By understanding the differences between these two documents, individuals can make informed decisions about which one is right for their circumstances. It is always advisable to consult with a legal professional when making these important decisions.