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If I am incapacitated, are not my children the default decision makers?

Written by Joanne on January 6, 2015

  1. If I become incapacitated and am in need of medical decision making, are not my children the default decision makers? Assuming I have enduring power of attorney for financial affairs. 
  1. Yes, if you are determined incapable of giving or refusing consent to medical decisions and you have not made any legal arrangements for such an event, a health care provider will go to the default list in the law. They must select a person in the order listed, starting with your spouse. If you do not have a spouse, they will select one of your adult children to make decisions.

The person they select is called your Temporary Substitute Decision Maker (TSDM). They only pick one person at a time and that person only has ‘temporary’ authority to make decisions for the situation at hand.

However, your spouse or child does not have as much authority as a TSDM as they would if you make a Representation Agreement and named them as your representative. You can also name more than one representative and/or alternate representatives.

You might be interested in attending a free webinar to learn more.

You can sign up at http://bit.ly/Nidus_Presentations

JOANNE TAYLOR
Executive Director, Nidus

RESOURCES

Health Care Consent – How decisions are made if you are incapable

Health Care Consent: Your Rights and the Law

Planning for the Future  (Information and form for Representation Agreement Section 9.)

Caring for an Older Adult  (If adult’s mental capability is already in question.)

Previous Ask Joanne Post: What are the roles and responsibilities of a Temporary Substitute Decision Maker (TSDM)?

Nidus partnered with BC Courthouse Libraries to raise awareness about BC’s essential legal planning documents and the Nidus Registry. The kick off event was held on September 15th at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch with a panel of experts in the field. Questions that were submitted will be answered in a series of posts by Nidus and various panel members. To see photos from the event click Gallery; and click Registry Sing-a-long for the fun of it!


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