Helping a Relative with a Disability
ARE YOU IN THE RIGHT SECTION?
This section is for British Columbians who are:*
- An adult (19 years or older), and
- Needing assistance with decision making in one or more areas due to a disability at birth or during childhood. For example, a developmental disability (special needs), acquired brain injury, FASD or other condition that has affected their mental capability – in the short term or ongoing.
Scroll down for examples, steps for making an RA7 and FAQs.
* If you are helping an adult whose mental capability came into question AFTER they became an adult – perhaps due to advanced dementia, serious stroke or other condition – and they do not have legal documents in place authorizing someone to help, click here.
* If you are mentally capable of making your own decisions now and want to plan for the future, in the event you need assistance or someone to act on your behalf, click here.
REPRESENTATION AGREEMENT SECTION 7
There are two paths to personal planning in BC – the future path and the need help today path. The future path is for adults who are considered capable of understanding the nature and effect of their planning documents at the time of making them. Adults whose mental capability is currently in question, are on the NEED HELP TODAY PATH and may make a Representation Agreement Section 7 (RA7).
The capability requirements for making an RA7 are different than those for making other legal documents, signing a contract or giving informed consent to health care. For example, adults with a developmental disability or FASD may make an RA7 even if they are considered incapable of understanding the nature and effect of making a Power of Attorney or a Will. See the next section for details.
An RA7 covers aspects of four life areas (standard powers): minor and major health care, personal care, obtaining legal services and routine management of financial affairs.
Read down the page for more information on the Representation Agreement Section 7. For forms on the NEED HELP TODAY PATH see RA7 forms for different situations.
Can a person make an RA7 before the age of 19?
No. To make an RA7, you must be an adult. In BC, this means 19 years of age or older.
Can’t service providers or family members make decisions for my son or daughter?
In BC, when you turn 19 years of age you are an adult and no one has automatic right to act on your behalf – not a spouse, family member, service providers, government staff, or the Public Guardian and Trustee. Although support staff have often been looked to for consent or signing on behalf of an adult with a disability, it is not legal. With new awareness about human rights, consent and privacy, there is more importance given to the Representation Agreement Section 7 (RA7) for adults with disabilities.
Paid staff and employees of facilities cannot be appointed or act as representatives in an RA7. This is the role for family members and friends. When an adult makes an RA7 it strengthens the connections between family/friends and the service providers. It clarifies roles and helps everyone work as a team in support of the adult’s needs and wishes.
What are the steps for helping an adult make an RA7?
Click on the following headings – they will guide you through the steps of making an RA7.
If you have questions or want personal help, please book an appointment.
If you have difficulty opening or downloading the steps, we strongly recommend you use the universal PDF document reader, ADOBE ACROBAT READER. Click, it’s free to install. When it is installed on your computer, right click the steps (links) below and select ‘save as’ to your computer and then open the file in Reader.
Who is considered capable of making an RA7? How do we prevent a challenge?
Who can be appointed? What roles are assigned?
What authorities can be covered?
How to obtain the legal forms? What are the signing & witnessing requirements?
What are the next steps when the RA7 is completed? Where is it registered?
RA7 FORMS FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS
1. Which document covers all 4 life areas if nothing is in place?
The Basic RA7 All covers health care, personal care, legal affairs and routine finances.
The RA7 All form is for naming 1 representative, 1 alternate and a monitor. If there are only two people available, you may use this form for 1 representative and a monitor. A monitor must be named for the Basic RA7 All form to be valid.
2. What if the adult already has an authority in place for financial and legal affairs?
The Public Guardian and Trustee may be managing the adult’s financial and legal affairs as statutory property guardian or someone may have applied to the BC Supreme Court to be appointed the adult’s guardian (Committee of Estate).
If there is already an authority in place for financial and legal affairs, the adult may make an RA7 to cover health and personal care matters (RA7 H+P). Health and personal care authorities are important for supporting the adult’s quality-of-life. It will require communication and coordination with those who have authority for financial and legal affairs. Name 1 representative and 1 alternate.
3. What if the adult needs a different form than the Basic RA7 All or the Basic RA7 H+P?
Sometimes people want to name two representatives (such as both parents) or they want to name additional alternates. Nidus can provide a Custom RA7 form. There is a fee of $75.00, which includes a personal appointment with Nidus staff, the Custom RA7 form and a coupon code to register the completed RA7 form.
We recommend you review the RA7 All and RA7 H+P packages (links above) before deciding about a Custom RA7 form. The first step to ordering a Custom RA7 form is to book an appointment. Information is provided at the forms page or you can click BOOK NOW in the right sidebar.
SAFEKEEPING & REGISTERING YOUR DOCUMENTS
Where should the original be kept?
- Be sure the ORIGINAL document is safe and accessible. It is proof of authority – never give the original away or lose it.
- There are different ideas about where to keep the original. Traditionally, people kept legal papers in a safety deposit box. However, this is not very accessible for the RA7 as the people who make this document may need help now with their affairs.
- Many people keep the original of their Agreement at home. When you register information with the Personal Planning Registry, you can state where in your home the original is located. You can also update its location in the Registry if you move it.
Who gets copies of the document(s)?
- Give copies of the completed document(s) to each person appointed.
- For an RA7 that includes health care, give a copy to the doctor and any specialists or other care providers involved.
- For an RA7 that includes finances, take the original to the financial institution so they can make their own copy for their files.
- Be prepared to make and distribute additional copies as needed.
Where do I register the document(s)?
- Nidus operates the Personal Planning Registry.
- Registration is voluntary. Registering the document helps with communication among those appointed and third parties.
- AFTER completing the legal document, you can upload a copy of it in the Personal Planning Registry along with information about the document itself, such as where the original is kept.
>> Representation Agreement Resources
>> Health Care Consent Fact Sheet
>> Health Care Consent Resources
Is a Representation Agreement required?
- No. A Representation Agreement is a legal document that a person makes voluntarily.
- A Representation Agreement is not a service – you do not apply for it. It is a way that an adult may authorize the person or people they trust to help them when they need assistance. Read the material at Step One above, under Getting Started.
- Some programs and services may recognize a Representation Agreement as an option for accessing a particular service or benefit such as Direct Funding from Community Living BC.
My son just turned 17; can he make a Representation Agreement?
- No. Your son must be 19 years or older to make a Representation Agreement.
Do we need a lawyer or notary public to make a Representation Agreement?
- No. You do not need a legal professional to make a Representation Agreement. A lawyer or notary public must take instruction from the adult, not from a family member or friend. Nidus uses a self-help approach for making a Representation Agreement – someone can help the adult make their Agreement.
How do I apply for a Representation Agreement?
- There is no application process. A Representation Agreement is not a service. Any adult may make a Representation Agreement. You can help someone to make their Agreement, but the document belongs to the adult and they don’t need ‘permission’ to make one. See more details at Step One above, under Getting Started.
- One of the tools that Nidus suggests you can use to get started, is the Planning Circle Exercise. It is a tool for identifying personal supporters – the key aspect of a Representation Agreement.
My daughter cannot talk or read or write, she does not understand. How can she make a Representation Agreement?
- Different laws have different capability requirements. Your daughter may not meet the capability requirements to make other legal documents such as a Power of Attorney or a Will. However, the Representation Agreement Section 7 provides a new way of looking at capability that is intended to make Representation Agreements accessible to ALL adults – even if they cannot manage their own affairs or make decisions on their own.
- Read the materials at Step One above, under Getting Started.
What if I want some personal help?
- Nidus provides information and resources through our website for self-help. We also offer free webinars. If you would like to speak with Nidus staff, we also provide personal help by in-person or phone appointment.
What if the adult needs to change or cancel their RA7?
- If you want to change the people you appointed or the authorities you included in your documents, you need to cancel (revoke) your old document and make a new one. Nidus has information and forms about Revoking an RA. Making a new RA does not automatically cancel a previous one.
- If you or someone you appointed has a change of address, phone number or legal name, you do not have to make a new document. You can update this information with the Personal Planning Registry. However, you should not make alter your original. Click to read more about Making Changes to Documents.
What if someone named in the RA7 needs to resign?