Making the Documents
Making Personal Planning Documents
This page discusses documents for personal planning under legislation in the province of British Columbia. These documents are legally enforceable in BC and can also be used with federal institutions (such as Canada Revenue and Services Canada).
Personal planning is about making arrangements for while you are alive but may need assistance or need someone to act on your behalf if you are seriously ill, injured or have a disability. (Estate planning is about making arrangements for after death.)
For an overview, watch Introduction to Personal Planning in BC
Watch videos about planning on our YouTube channel
You will find graphics explaining concepts discussed below under the Information section at Types of Planning
What legal documents do I need for personal planning in BC?
A Representation Agreement is the legally enforceable planning document in BC for authorizing someone to assist you or act on your behalf for health and personal care decisions. It can also cover routine financial and legal affairs for some situations.
- There are two types of Representation Agreements – a Representation Agreement Section 7 (RA7) and a Representation Agreement Section 9 (RA9).
- The key issue in deciding which one to make has to do with the capability requirements. This is explained under a heading below.
An Enduring Power of Attorney, is a legal planning document in BC to cover ‘routine’ plus other financial and legal affairs. You must understand the nature and effect of six items to be considered capable of making this document.
If you want to use legal documents made in another province or country, click to find information under Using Documents.
What are the age requirements?
In British Columbia, you must be an adult to make personal planning documents. In BC, the age of adulthood is 19 years.
What are the requirements for legal consultation?
No legal professional is required for making a Representation Agreement.
- Nidus has forms and instructions for making a valid document. You will need two independent witnesses such as friends or neighbours.
- Nidus’ forms have been used and honoured since the law came into effect in February 2000.
For an Enduring Power of Attorney, Nidus recommends going to a lawyer or notary public who will draft it for you.
- You will need their signature if the EPA might be used for real estate (Land Title). Don’t take a chance—it could cost $5,000-$7,000 for someone to go to Court if the EPA is not done correctly.
- Nidus has tips and a checklist for the EPA that you can use to prepare for your meeting with a legal professional. You will find these resources in the future path links below.
What are the capability requirements?
Thanks to the long, hard work of BC citizens and community organizations, British Columbians have two paths for personal planning: the Future Path—for adults who are considered capable at the time of making their documents and the Need Help Today Path—for adults whose capability is in question at the time of making their documents.
- Other provinces only have legislation for the Future Path.
- This means that in other provinces (and countries) adults whose mental capability is in question today—due to advanced dementia or stroke or a developmental disability—cannot make their own arrangements with people they trust and who know them. Instead, they are vulnerable to adult guardianship and losing their civil rights. This is not the case in BC as we have a legal alternative to adult guardianship.
To make a Representation Agreement Section 9 (RA9) and an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) you must be capable of understanding what the documents cover, their purpose and the effect of naming someone to act on your behalf.
- The future path requires the traditional legal test of capability and is similar for other legal documents such as making a Will.
- The RA9 and EPA are the most comprehensive personal planning documents (give the most coverage) for those who meet the capability test. Some people on this future path have no real estate and simple financial affairs and no spouse or dependants might make an RA7 with financial + legal powers only, instead of the EPA, but the RA7 F+L does not cover as much.
- We say that people who can make these documents are on the Future Path because they are able to manage their affairs now at the time of making these documents. They want to authorize someone to help them in case they need temporary or ongoing help in the future.
NEED HELP TODAY PATH
Adults who already need assistance with decision making because their mental capability is currently in question are on the Need Help Today Path. They may make a Representation Agreement Section 7 (RA7).
- These adults don’t have documents or other authorities already in place. They are not considered capable to meet the traditional legal test that is required by documents on the future path.
- The RA7 is for adults who have advanced dementia, are recovering from a serious stroke, have a developmental disability and other temporary or ongoing conditions that raise questions about their mental capability.
- Nidus provides forms that supporters can use to help the adult make an RA7. (Legal professionals must take instructions from their client/the adult. If an adult’s mental capability is in question this can be difficult. Nidus uses a self-help approach so you can help the adult.)
- The Representation Agreement Section 7 (RA7) is a legal alternative to adult guardianship. It provides a different (i.e. a 21st century) view of capability and makes personal planning accessible to ALL adults.
Are there any restrictions?
Yes there are some restrictions on who you can name or appoint in your legal documents.The following applies to documents for health and personal care as well as for financial and legal affairs.
- You cannot name someone to act on your behalf if they are compensated (e.g. paid) to provide you (the adult) with health or personal care services. This means, for example, you cannot name your doctor, a home share provider or a paid support worker/caregiver. The ONLY exceptions are if the person is your (the adult’s) spouse, parent or child.
- You cannot name someone to act on your behalf if they are an employee of a facility where you (the adult) live and receive health or personal care services. This means, for example, you cannot name the staff if you live in Assisted Living or a care facility or group home. The ONLY exception is if the person is your (the adult’s) spouse, parent or child.
Who is making personal planning documents?
EXAMPLES OF SOMEONE ON THE FUTURE PATH – RA9 and EPA
- We just had another baby and want to make sure our minor children will be cared for if one of us dies and the other is alive but temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
- I’m 54 and was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease. I want to get my affairs in order before my disease progresses.
- I have epilepsy and it is under control. I was institutionalized when I was a teenager because my mother needed help with my care and the government said they could look after me better at Woodlands School. I am now in my 60s and supported by a community living agency. I want to plan so government does not have a say over my care at end-of-life.
- I’m 86 and very active but I think it is time to get my legal documents made in case I have a stroke or a bad fall. I want to make things easier on my friends and family.
- I just turned 65. Becoming a senior has motivated me to get all my planning documents made and registered. I can always cancel them and make new ones if things change in the future. But I don’t want to take a chance that I’m not covered.
- I’m 23 and going overseas to work. I need to make arrangements so my parents can look after my financial affairs here in BC and be available to help if I’m ill or injured.
- I have cancer and am now at the palliative stage — there are no more treatment options. I don’t want any experimental treatments if they are offered. I want to be sure my spouse can refuse medical interventions on my behalf and consent to pain relief if needed.
EXAMPLES OF SOMEONE ON THE NEED HELP TODAY PATH – RA7
- My aunt has dementia. We did not realize she needed so much help until she ended up in hospital emergency. The staff said she could not live on her own anymore. We helped her make a Representation Agreement Section 7 to make sure she is treated with dignity and respect. We needed legal authority to apply for the disability tax credit for her, pay her bills, consent for facility placement and talk with her doctor.
- The Public Guardian and Trustee is managing our friend’s financial and legal affairs as her statutory property guardian. But they don’t know what clothes or activities she likes. We are helping her to make a Representation Agreement Section 7 for health and personal care so we can make sure her money is used for her quality-of-life. She likes getting National Geographic and wearing fuzzy slippers.
- My son is 47, he does not read, write or talk but he is a person with likes and dislikes even though he communicates in a non-traditional way. His brother and I helped him make a Representation Agreement Section 7 so we can help others pay attention to his needs and preferences.
- My partner had a serious stroke. He is now in a care facility. We have lived together for 20 years and have never come out to his family. They talk like we are roommates. The social worker explained that without a Representation Agreement, I can only make health care decisions for my life partner if I say I am his spouse. Otherwise, they have to contact his parents, siblings or any other relatives to make health care decisions before they can ask a friend. Also, although he and I have a joint bank account, I will not be able to deal with other financial issues. He cares about his family and I’m sure they care about him but they do not know his wishes like I do. We’ve talked about things and I know he expects me to be the one to advocate and look after him.
- Our foster son is turning 19. He is called ‘special needs’ because he needs assistance with decisions and managing his affairs. His biological family have kept in contact but parental rights end when he becomes an adult. We are going to continue to provide living arrangements through a contract with the government as the home share provider but this does not give us legal authority to help him with his finances or health care decisions. I’m going to let his biological family know about the Representation Agreement Section 7.
How do I get started? Where do I get the forms?
Steps to get started:
- Determine the path: Future Path or Need Help Today—select from below.
- Read information and discuss with those you are naming.
- Review the planning package and form to make a valid document.
- Register the completed document with the Personal Planning Registry.
Determine PATH, click link to find more details and links to forms.
For adults who are currently considered capable of making their own decisions and understanding the documents they are making. Go to the Nidus homepage at www.nidus.ca – click on the middle heading/photo or click this link ‘Planning on the Future Path.’
NEED HELP TODAY PATH
For adults whose mental capability is in question at the time of making their documents.
- For an adult whose capability is affected temporarily or ongoing by a serious illness or injury – such as a stroke, advanced dementia, or other condition – after they became an adult. These adults are not considered capable of understanding the nature and effect of making the documents on the future path. Go to the Nidus homepage at www.nidus.ca – click on the third heading/photo or click for helping a spouse/parent/friend/relative who needs help today.