A Will only has effect after your death—it cannot authorize someone to act on your behalf for health care or financial affairs while you are alive. There are other legal documents you need to make in case you require assistance while you are alive—due to an illness, injury or disability.
It is common for spouses to own things jointly such as bank accounts, vehicles and real estate property. However, this is not enough! For example, if you become incapacitated, joint ownership does not give your spouse authority to sell the car you both own. It also does not let your spouse renew the car insurance.
Read our Let’s Plan Handout to find out what you need to be covered.
Under BC legislation, a Power of Attorney/Enduring Power of Attorney is a legally enforceable document but only for financial and legal affairs.
A Representation Agreement is the legally enforceable document in BC that gives someone authority to make health care and personal care decisions on your behalf. (Some people might also make a Representation Agreement to cover their routine finances—instead of an Enduring Power of Attorney.)
While we are all going to die, most of us will need help with our financial affairs and decisions about health and personal care before we reach ‘end-of-life.’
Even at end-of-life, there are a variety of health and personal care decisions related to providing comfort and supporting quality of life rather than refusing treatment. For example, giving consent to medication for pain management or arranging for a special mattress to prevent pressure sores or contacting a leader in the faith community to visit.