COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS & ADULT GUARDIANSHIP APPLICATIONS
The number of wealthy boomers in British Columbia who are living longer is on the rise dramatically. As we age, the percentage of diminished mental capacity and dementia may increase.
Older persons who were once vigorous and capable may see their mental faculties diminish. Children will often become their parent’s caregivers. Aging and vulnerable BC individuals are at risk of financial scams and theft by strangers and even loved ones. Predatory marriages are increasing.
BC PATIENTS PROPERTY ACT
Aging loved ones deserve to be protected by family members and our courts can assist through committee appointments and adult guardianship applications. With proper planning, an aging person can appoint a responsible person to manage the person and the estate before the onset of incapacity. However, if this is not completed the BC Patients Property Act allows for courts to appoint someone to be the responsible Committee.
WHAT IS A COMMITTEE?
In BC a Committee is a person, organization or facility who is appointed to make personal, medical, legal and/or financial decisions for an adult person who is mentally incapable of making decisions for themselves.
TYPES OF COMMITTEES
There are two types of Committees. A Committee of the estate can make financial and legal decisions on behalf of the patient. A Committee of the person can make personal and medical decisions for the Patient. The Adult Guardianship Act is new legislation coming to BC. The term patient will be replaced with Guardian. There will remain two types of Guardians: the property guardian and the personal guardian respectively.
Since these appointments deal with the freedom of the allegedly infirm, great respect is given to the person who is alleged to be incapable. Two doctors must swear affidavits indicating the person is incapable of managing their person and finances.
An affidavit listing of assets, details of the person’s infirmity and a care plan is required by the Court together with any documents evidencing the patient’s past wishes for whom should oversee their person and finances.
Sometimes two different Committees are appointed. One for personal health decisions and one for financial decisions. The responsibilities placed on a Committee are serious. If you, a sibling, or other person is seeking to become appointed as a Committee, you or they ought to carefully consider whether he or she is willing and capable of effectively taking on this role.
Once that test has been met the choice of the person best able to manage the person and the finances is then considered by the Court. Potential conflicts of interest will be assessed to ensure the Committee appointed is no threat to the person or estate of the patient.
These decisions are emotional, serious and require proper guidance from experienced estate litigation lawyers.
If you have concerns over a loved one’s ability to do what’s best for them with respect to their financial and health decisions you can explore a number of ways to put protection in place. Call us as soon as concerns surface regarding a loved one being potentially infirm and vulnerable. We have offices in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna, or Fort St. John offices to better understand your legal rights and obligations. We are here to help. Please feel free to contact us now.