Do I need a representation agreement in my estate plan?

In the end, choosing to put a representation agreement, or RA, in place is a personal decision. However, a lawyer can go over what the agreement does for you and help become informed enough to make the right decision. This blog post will cover some of the important facts about representation agreements. Armed with this information you can speak further about the issue with your estate planning lawyer.

The first thing to do is understand what an RA is. It is a legal planning tool enabling you to give a trusted party the legal right to represent you and make decisions on your behalf. If you were to become very ill or otherwise incapacitated, your legal representative can make decisions about your health care, your personal life and even you financial affairs. Here are some facts about an RA:

Although you will have a legal representative, you are still in charge of your own affairs and can make your own decisions. It is if you become incapacitated that a representative may step in.

You may revoke a representation agreement at any time and as you see fit. If you create a new RA with a new representative, you will still have to revoke the previous RA in order for the new one to be valid.

You can have more than one representation agreement with different representatives if you choose. For example, one RA can cover your financial affairs and another RA can cover your healthcare or medical needs.

It is not very difficult to create an RA, but you will benefit greatly by seeking advice from a lawyer. This ensures all of your needs will be met and that your legal document is valid under British Columbia law.

Source: Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, "It's Your Choice: Personal Planning Tools," accessed June 17, 2016

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