ADVANCE CARE PLANNING BACKGROUNDER
Why Advance Care Planning is Important
One of the most important and caring things people can do for themselves—and their loved ones—is to prepare in advance for a time when they may not be able to express their own needs and wishes.
Expressing and legally documenting preferences and instructions can protect individuals and their families from financial abuse or exploitation. Designating health care decision-makers or instructions can create peace-of-mind, minimize dissension and anguish among friends and family, and ensure compliance on critical decisions.
It also saves valuable time and resources in our health care system to help manage escalating health care costs.
Advance planning can be a very comforting and satisfying process, especially when it is managed by an experienced and trusted legal professional. BC Notaries understand the sensitivities and complexities of these planning decisions and will ensure that their clients’ intentions are clear and properly documented—so the clients can rest assured about the future.
Who Makes Decisions?
The following is the legal hierarchy of decision-makers when the adult is unable to express his or her own decisions.
- Committee of Person(Personal Guardian appointed by the Court)
- Representative, designated under a Representation Agreement
- Advance Directive(a legal document that specifies instructions directly to health care professionals so there is no decision-maker)
- When none of the above exists, next-of-kin will be the legalTemporary Substitute Decision Maker (TSDM). They are, in order—spouse, adult child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, anyone else related by birth or adoption, close friend, a person immediately related by marriage (in-laws, step-parents, step-children). Note: The TSDM must have had contact with the adult in the past year and not be in a conflict with the adult.
- Health care provider, in emergencies