“My sister Janis has an intellectual disability. The people who are close to her have always helped her to make decisions. Janis formalized her support arrangement by signing a standard representation agreement. Her supportive decision-makers all care for her deeply. Sometimes we get together as a group to talk with Janis about her decisions.”
– Carly, New Westminster, BC
A person with limited or declining capacity may be able to sign a standard representation agreement. They’re often referred to as section 7 representation agreements. An adult who needs help now can choose someone they trust as a representative. This person can support them to make decisions about financial, legal, health care, and personal care matters.
The relationship that a standard representation agreement describes is recognized by the law. This means that outside parties (such as banks and doctors) must, under the law, respect the arrangement.
Eight reasons why someone may want a standard representation agreement
“My mother Tram has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She made me her representative. She’s always been fiercely independent. She hopes she’ll be able to make her own decisions for some time yet, with support from me as needed. We know the time will eventually come when she’ll need me to make decisions for her. We talked about her goals, beliefs, and values. When needed, I can make decisions based on what she would have wanted.”
– Khoa, Abbottsford, BC
1. An adult can be supported to make decisions that reflect their true wishes and values
2. If no planning is done, the court may become involved
3. If plans aren’t made, and medical treatment is needed, a wide range of people could be chosen to give consent
4. Planning can help someone to live well
5. An adult can choose more than one person to support them
6. Planning can ensure a smooth and informed transition
7. Planning can help to minimize conflict and stress
8. Planning puts people in a position to make informed choices
Standard representation agreements are designed for adults who need help now because they’re incapable of making decisions independently. They may be appropriate for an adult:
with an intellectual disability,
who suffered from a traumatic brain injury,
experiencing age-related mental decline, or
whose cognitive function is otherwise impaired due to illness or accident.
There are also some circumstances where an adult who can make decisions independently might choose to make one.
You can learn more about the two types of representation agreements, and confirm whether a standard representation agreement is the right fit for you. We also provide more in-depth guidance on how to prepare a standard representation agreement.