Representation Agreements are a key part of estate and advance care planning. A Representation Agreement is a legal document that allows you to plan for future incapacity. Similar to a Power of Attorney, it allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf, but instead of being responsible for legal and financial matters, a representative can make decisions about your personal care and medical care if you become incapable.
The team at Onyx Law Group understands the unique intricacies of advance care planning and can assist you with preparing a Representation Agreement that reflects your care wishes and instructions. We can help you plan for your future and any possible incapacity you may experience, so your medical and healthcare wishes are respected and followed.
Representation Agreements allow you to choose someone you love and trust to make decisions for you if you have lost the capacity to make these decisions for yourself. An individual appointed under a Power of Attorney cannot make health care decisions for you. You must appoint a substitute decision maker for health and personal care under a separate legal document, called a Representation Agreement. You are able to appoint more than one representative and give them equal or different decision-making authority.
In order for a Representation Agreement to be legal and enforceable, it must meet the following major requirements in compliance with the Representation Agreement Act:
● be in writing
● signed at the end by the maker of the agreement
● signed in the presence of 2 witnesses, who cannot be the appointed representative(s) or persons closely associated with the representative(s)
An experienced lawyer can help you create a Representation Agreement, and also advise you of the validity and effect of your existing Representation Agreement.
There are two types of Representation Agreements. An estate planning lawyer can help you understand which of these agreements is right for you.
● Section 7 Representation Agreements
This type of Representation Agreement allows the individual to name representatives to “help make decisions, or make decisions on behalf of the adult, with respect to personal care and health care, the routine management of financial affairs and obtaining legal services for the adult and instructing counsel.” A Section 7 Representation Agreement is usually intended for individuals who are not capable of giving the representative greater decision-making power or the ability to appoint an attorney under a Power of Attorney because of compromised capacity or other factors.
● Section 9 Representation Agreements
This type of Representation Agreement gives the individual the ability to “name a representative to do anything that the representative considers necessary in relation to the personal care or health care of the adult.”
There are many benefits associated with having a Representation Agreement. These benefits include:
● Ability to appoint the individuals you want to make decisions on your behalf
Without a Representation Agreement, the law dictates which of your family members may make healthcare related decisions on your behalf, and in what order. With a Representation Agreement, you can establish the specific order and hierarchy of your decision makers, which may include people not related to you, such a friends, and exclude family members you do not wish to make decisions for you.
● S. 9 Representatives have greater decision-making authority than substitute decision makers
You can give your S. 9 Representatives the power to make all decisions concerning your health care and medical care, including the power to make care facility arrangements or make end-of-life decision, such as removal from life support. S. 9 Representatives have more decision-making authority than default substitute decision makers (where an individual does not have a Representation Agreement), whose powers are limited in various respects.
● Certainty that your wishes will be respected
If you become incapacitated for any reason, your Representative has the power to speak on your behalf to ensure that your medical and healthcare wishes are respected. Creating a Representation Agreement allows you the opportunity to communicate your wishes to your Representatives who will make decisions with those wishes in mind.
● Saves you or your family time and money
This kind of legal document also saves you and your family the time and cost of having to go to court to be appointed with the same powers that could have been given in a Representation Agreement.
● Reduces the burden on your family
If you’ve been impacted by a medical emergency, it can be a very traumatic and stressful time for your loved ones. Having a legal Representation Agreement in place helps reduce the burden on your family because they know who is your health care decisions are clearly laid out for your representative to follow.
When considering the drafting of a Representation Agreement, it’s important to discuss your wishes and instructions with a lawyer. Our team of experienced lawyers have the expertise and experience to help you navigate the intricacies of creating a Representation Agreement that will reflect your wishes and reduce the future burden on your family. Contact our team to schedule a consultation today.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be considered legal, financial, tax, medical, or any other professional advice.