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Committee Appointments & Adult Guardianship

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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.

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.

What is a predatory marriage and how is it recognized legally?

Typically a predatory marriage involves a vulnerable elderly person and another adult who’s only interested in personal gain and profit. The manipulative spouse often arranges the marriage ceremony in secret in order to gain control of their elderly spouse’s finances. The predatory spouse will also go to lengths to isolate the elderly person, to further gain control of finances including changes to the will.

Unfortunately, a predatory marriage can slip through the cracks. As long as the ceremony is performed by a licensed commissioner of marriages, complete with witnesses, the marriage is legal.

Our experienced Committee Appointments and Adult Guardianship Applications warn that 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 individuals are at risk of financial scams and theft by strangers and even loved ones. Predatory marriages are increasing. Having a trusted person handling the health and finances of a loved one is key. Seniors First BC is a great resource for people with questions about Committee Appointments and Adult Guardianship Applications.

What is the BC Patients Property Act?

The BC Patients Property Act provides for the appointment of both a Committee of Estate and a Committee of Person. A Committee of Estate is responsible for making substitute decisions in the area of an individual’s financial and legal affairs when the individual is no longer able to make those decisions for themselves. A Committee of Person in the area of an individual’s health and personal care is responsible for making decisions for the individual who can no longer make those decisions for themselves.

With proper planning, an aging person can appoint a responsible person to manage the person and the estate before the onset of incapacity through Powers of Attorney and representation agreements. However, if this type of estate planning is not completed, the BC Patients Property Act allows for courts to appoint someone to be the responsible Committee. Further, if a power of attorney acts improperly, the court can step in to appoint a Committee of the person and estate.

Herr Law Group Litigation Committee Appointments and Adult Guardianship lawyers are cognizant that aging loved ones deserve to be protected by family members and our courts can assist through committee appointments.

What is the Adult Guardianship Act?

The guiding principles of the Adult Guardian Act are as follows:

This Act is to be administered and interpreted in accordance with the following principles:

(a) all adults are entitled to live in the manner they wish and to accept or refuse support, assistance or protection as long as they do not harm others and they are capable of making decisions about those matters;

(b) all adults should receive the most effective, but the least restrictive and intrusive, form of support, assistance or protection when they are unable to care for themselves or their financial affairs;

(c) the court should not be asked to appoint, and should not appoint, guardians unless alternatives, such as the provision of support and assistance, have been tried or carefully considered.

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