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Understanding Committees: Assisting Loved Ones in Need


If a loved one cannot manage their personal, health, or financial matters, you may wonder how to support them. One option is to apply to be appointed as a Committee. These legal appointments allow someone to step in and make day-to-day decisions for a person who cannot do it themselves.

What Are Committees?

Committeeships are legal arrangements made through a court order. They are usually obtained if someone has lost or does not have mental capacity and does not have a Power of Attorney. Committeeships give someone the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person who cannot do so due to mental incapacity. These decisions can cover a wide range of areas, including personal matters like healthcare, as well as financial and legal issues.

How Does Someone Become a Committee?

Becoming a Committee involves a formal process that starts with a court hearing in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Anyone can apply to become a Committee, but the Court makes the final decision. The Court relies on input from the Public Guardian and Trustee and assessments from medical professionals to determine if the person truly lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs. If the Court agrees, they appoint someone as a Committee. If no suitable person is available, the Court might appoint a professional guardian instead.

What Are the Duties of a Committee?

Once appointed, Committees have specific duties depending on what type of committee they are. If they are a Committee of a Person, the appointed Committee is responsible for things like making healthcare decisions and ensuring the person’s day-to-day needs are met. On the other hand, if they are a Committee of an Estate, they handle financial and legal matters, like managing assets and paying bills. Whatever the role, the primary concern is always acting in the best interests of the person they are representing.

Are There Other Options Besides Committeeships?

Absolutely. Powers of Attorney (POA) and Representation Agreements (RA) are two alternatives. These legal documents allow someone to appoint another person to manage their affairs. Specifically, a POA gives a representative the authority to handle another’s financial and legal matters. A RA allows a trusted family member or friend to make healthcare decisions when the individual is unable to make them on their own.

The difference between a Committee and POAs or RAs is that the person making the POA or RA must still have the mental capacity to set up these arrangements. Committeeships are used as an alternative when signing a POA or RA is no longer an option. Contact us if you have any questions about Committee Applications, Power of Attorneys or Representation Agreements.

About the Author

I am committed to providing clear legal services to our clients. Focusing in the practice of wills and estates, I am dedicated to help you navigate estate planning with ease and find a solution that best fits your needs.

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