ESTATE PLANNINGPlanning for retirement and beyond.

Estate Planning

Unfortunately, it is a reality that we become less able to care for ourselves and make decisions when we get older.


It is typically a good idea to plan ahead and arrange your affairs so that you can be cared for in the fashion you would like. There are steps that you can take while you are still capable like making a power of attorney, representation agreement, and or advanced directive. There are also steps your friends or family members can take after you become incapable, like making an application for committeeship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Power of Attorney, do I need it, and when would I use it?
    1. It is a document where the Donor, the person making the document, gives another person, the attorney, power over their financial assets.
    2. You don’t need one, but it can be a good idea. It would allow your attorney, the person appointed, to deal with your financial assets. It is typically used to allow children to manage their elderly parent’s finances when the parent can no longer manage. It does not have to be effective right away, it can be made effective at a specific time or in specific circumstances. For example, you can make a power of attorney effective if you fall into a coma.
    3. Unfortunately you need your POA when you need it. The POA is usually created before you need it, just in case. So if you are getting older you need a POA when you can no longer manage on your own.
What is a Representation Agreement, do I need it, and when would I use it?
    1. It is a document where the adult, the person making the document, gives another person, the representative, power over their non-financial decision making, in particular health care.
    2. You do not need it, but it can be a good idea. It will allow your representative, the person appointed, to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are not able.
    3. Typically the hospital will take instructions from your next of kin if you think your family would fight about what to do, or don’t think your next of kin could make the tough decisions or wouldn’t make the right decision, you would want the Representation Agreement to ensure someone you trust is making the decisions.
Is my DNR(Do not resuscitate) effective in BC?

Generally no. The BC version of a DNR is called an Advanced Directive. It is where you write down your instructions so your doctors can know what you want when you are incapacitated, including that you do not want to be resuscitated if that is the case.

What happens if I become incapable and don’t have a POA?

A friend or family member will need to apply to court for an order of committeeship. If there is no one willing to apply the Public Guardian and Trustee, a government organization, will become the committee.

How do I get guardianship of an adult?

If the adult is not able to take care of themselves you can apply for committeeship.

How do I become the legal representative of an adult?

If the adult is not able to take care of themselves you can apply for committeeship.

What is Committeeship?

A Committeeship is a court ordered arrangement where the court gives a Committee, the person applying, authority over the patient’s, the person who is incapable, financial and or personal affairs.

I have an Enduring Power of Attorney, should I get a Committeeship?

Generally no. They give you the same legal authority but with a committeeship you have reporting requirements to the Public Guardian and Trustee.

What is the difference between a power of attorney (POA) and a Committeeship?

The POA is given by consent when the friend or family member is capable. The Committeeship is granted when they become incapable but don’t have a POA. With the  Committeeship there is oversight from the Public Guardian and Trustee.

When and how to apply for Committeeship?

This can only occur after the patient has become incapable for reason of age, disease, or substance. You’ll need two doctors who have seen your friend of family member and are willing to swear an affidavit stating that your friend of family member is incapable of taking care of him or herself and or taking care of his or her financial affairs. You will also need to swear an affidavit yourself showing that you are someone that can be trusted with and capable of caring for your friend of family member. Note that if you can only find one doctor you cannot apply for committee ship. You are required to have the affidavits of two doctors.

If I become a Committees, is there any way I can quit?

Another person can apply. If the order is granted your committeeship will be terminated.

What if the patient gets better?

You or the patient can make an application to terminate the Committeeship.

Will I be paid for the time I work as a Committee?

You are entitled to reasonable compensation for your work. The compensation needs to be approved by the Public Guardian and Trustee before being paid.

Is there anything else I need to know?

A lot. For example, if the application is granted the Office of the Public Trustee will require you to provide an annual accounting for all income and expenses. A Copy of the PGT’s Private Committee Handbook can be found by clicking here.

Do I need a Will?

Generally no. If you die without a will your assets will pass by the rules of intestacy. See rules of Intestacy (In Estate Grant section). If you want your estate to be distributed some other way you will need to make a will. You can also designate a guardian of your children if you were to die while your children are minors.

Can I write my own will?

Yes. Is it a good idea? No. There are certain requirements for wills. If you don’t meet those requirements your executor will need to make an application to Court to fix the errors.  That costs money.  The cost of hiring a lawyer to write a will is almost always less than curing the will.

I moved since I wrote my will, should I correct my address on the will?

No. The general rule of thumb is after a will is signed, do not write on it, do not take the staples out, do not change it in any way. There is no need to update the address. If you write on the will then your executor will need to make an application to cure the deficiencies of the will and explain why you crossed out your old address and wrote your new address.

CONTACT BELLAMY LAWCall today, or leave us a message

Book A Complimentary Consultation

    What Service Are You Inquiring About?
    103-1012 Beach Avenue Vancouver, B.C. V6E 1T7
    604 662 8900


    Copyright © Bellamy Law 2023

    Call us
    Call Now Button