Change or end an enhanced representation agreement

What are my rights?

Once someone agrees to be my representative under an enhanced representation agreement, can they back out?
  • Yes
  • No

With an enhanced representation agreement, you can name someone to make health care and personal care decisions for you. Learn about your rights and options for changing or ending this kind of agreement. 

What you should know

You can make changes to an enhanced representation agreement

As long as you’re legally capable, you can change the agreement at any time. For example, you may want to give your representative more, or less, power.  

In this context, legally capable means you must understand the nature and consequences of the representation agreement and the proposed changes.

“Alfred prepared an enhanced representation agreement ten years ago. At the time, he was healthy and his mind was robust. Now he has Parkinson’s. His physical and mental decline was cruel and rapid. He can no longer change or end his agreement.”

– Julie, Smithers

You can’t simply write your changes into the document — there are certain rules you must follow. An amendment is a separate document that sets out the changes to be made. The amendment should refer to the original representation agreement. And the law says it must be signed in a certain way. 

You can revoke (end) an enhanced representation agreement

If you have an enhanced representation agreement, you can revoke it, as long as you’re capable

You must put your decision in writing in a notice of revocation. You need to give a signed and dated copy of the notice of revocation to:

  • each representative,

  • each alternate representative, and

  • your monitor, if you have one.

If you prepare a new enhanced representation agreement, you should end your old one

In moments of crisis, health care providers need to know —  with certainty —  who can make decisions for you. So if you prepare a new enhanced representation agreement, you should revoke your old one. You should also refer to the old agreement in the new one. For example:

“I have revoked my prior representation agreement dated______.”

This will make it clear who has the authority to act for you.

Keep a copy of the notice of revocation with your new agreement.

If your representative wants to quit

If your representative wants to resign, they must say so in writing. The written decision is called a notice of resignation

They must give the written notice of resignation to:

  • you (as the person who appointed them),

  • any other representatives named in the enhanced representation agreement,

  • any alternate representatives, and

  • your monitor, if you have one.

You should notify anyone who knew who your representative was. (For example, your doctor or care home.) 

Change the agreement

Step 1. Put your decision in writing

If you want to make changes to your existing enhanced representation agreement, there are certain rules you must follow. 

Any change must be in writing. A formal change to a legal document is called an amendment. This is a separate document that sets out the changes to be made. It should refer to the original representation agreement.

The law says the amendment must be made in a certain way:

  • You must sign and date it in front of two witnesses.

  • The witnesses must sign and date the agreement in front of you. You only need one witness if they’re a notary public or a lawyer.

  • Your representative (including any alternates) must sign the amendment. If you have more than one representative, each must sign the amendment before they can act under it. But your representatives needn’t all sign at the same time. And their signatures don’t have to be witnessed.

  • If you have a monitor, they must complete and sign a monitor’s certificate.

A person can’t witness a signature if they are:

  • a representative,

  • an alternate representative,

  • a spouse, child or parent of the representative or alternate, or

  • employed by the representative, unless you’re appointing a lawyer, notary public, or the Public Guardian and Trustee as your representative.

Getting professional help reduces your risk

Consider asking a lawyer or notary to draft the amendment for you. This will help ensure that your representation agreement (as amended) continues to be valid. 

Step 2. Give a copy of the notice to your representative(s)

Give a signed and dated copy of the notice of amendment to each of your representatives, alternate representatives, and your monitor (if you have one).

If you want to be sure your recipient gets the notice, send it by registered mail.

Step 3. Give a copy of the notice to anyone else you gave a copy of your agreement

You should also notify anyone you gave a copy of your representation agreement to, or anyone who might have expected to deal with your representative (such as your doctor or care home), that you changed the agreement.

End the agreement

Step 1. Put your decision in writing

A written decision that you’re ending your representation agreement is called a notice of revocation. You can use wording like this:

I,__________________ [your name], revoke the enhanced representation agreement that I made on ___________ [date enhanced representation agreement was signed] that appointed the following people ________________ [name of your representative(s)] as my representative. Date: _____________________ Signature: _________________

Be sure to sign and date the document.

The revocation takes effect when the notice is given to everyone required. Or you can specify (in the notice of revocation) a date in the future when it will take effect.

Sample notice of revocation

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry provides detailed information on revoking a representation agreement. A sample notice of revocation is included.

Step 2. Give a copy of the notice to your representative(s)

Give a signed and dated copy of the notice of revocation to each of your representatives, alternate representatives, and your monitor (if you have one).

If you want to be sure your recipient gets the notice, send it by registered mail.

Step 3. Give a copy of the notice to anyone else you gave a copy of your agreement

You should also notify anyone you gave a copy of your representation agreement to, or anyone who might have expected to deal with your representative (such as your doctor or care home), that you ended the agreement.

Step 4. If you make a new agreement, refer to your old agreement

If you make a new agreement, you should say in it that you have revoked your old agreement. Include the date when the old agreement was originally signed, and when it was revoked.

Common questions

My representative has a new address. Do I need to prepare a new enhanced representation agreement?

No. You don’t have to prepare a new agreement every time a representative’s address, phone number or legal name changes.

On a separate piece of paper, note the change. For example, if your representative has moved, write down their name and new address. Attach this to your original representation agreement (use a paperclip, not a staple). Also, attach any proof of the change, such as a copy of a legal name change document.

Don’t make any changes to the original document — this may make it invalid.

I want someone else to act as my representative. Should I end my existing agreement?

If you want to change who your representative is, it’s always open to you to end your existing agreement and make a new one (as long as you’re capable of doing so). But there are other options, depending on the circumstances.

If you only have one representative and:

  • You have an alternate named in your representation agreement, your representative can resign and your alternate can step in. Your alternate continues to act under your existing agreement.

  • You don't have an alternate, you'll need to end your agreement. You can then prepare a new agreement, appointing the person you want as representative.

If you have multiple representatives, check to see what your agreement says. For example, if your representatives can make decisions independently, you may be able to ask one representative to resign, so that the other representative(s) can continue to act. If you’re not sure what to do, consider seeking legal advice.

I’d asked my spouse to be my representative. Now we’re separated. Do they still have the authority to act for me?

In general, if you appoint your spouse as your representative, and you later separate from them, the law says they lose their authority to act for you.

The exception is if your agreement specifically says that your spouse can continue to act for you even if you separate. In this case, they can continue to act. 

Who can help

With planning documents

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre & Registry
Detailed information on personal planning, including template forms.
Notaries Public
Notaries prepare powers of attorney and representation agreements.

Helpful agencies

Alzheimer Society of BC
Support for British Columbians with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The Alzheimer Society of BC provides information and support to families, individuals, and caregivers to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. 

Visit website

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry provides detailed information and answers questions about enduring powers of representative, representation agreements, and advance directives. 

Email info@nidus.ca Visit website

The Public Guardian and Trustee of BC is a public body that can investigate the misuse of an enhanced representation agreement where the adult has become mentally incapable. It also provides financial management and legal decision-making for vulnerable adults.

Call 604-660-4444 Visit website

  • Reviewed in May 2019
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Time to read: 6 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Kevin Smith, Retired lawyer and consultant

Kevin Smith

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