Estate planning involves a variety of tools to ensure your future wishes are carried out. One such consideration is determining who will make decisions for you if you become incapable.
If you plan ahead for the future, you can authorize someone else to make decisions for you through a power of attorney or representation agreement. In order to grant a power of attorney or a representative, you must still have mental capacity. A power of attorney and representation agreement may be prepared and executed at our offices and are inexpensive.
If these agreements are not in place before an individual becomes incapable of making decisions, a friend or relative must apply to the court to manage the affairs of the person who is incapacitated. This is known as a committeeship application, and it is governed by the Patients Property Act. A committee of estate can make decisions for an adult, in their best interests, in a variety of areas such as dealing with property, finances, providing for dependents and managing legal affairs. There is another type of committeeship which is committee of person; this includes making healthcare decisions for the incapable individual.
Obtaining a committeeship is often a straightforward process, but depending on the circumstances, it can be prolonged or costly. It requires affidavit evidence from doctors and a court appearance. These applications are significantly more expensive than powers of attorney or a representation agreement, and can be litigious if more than one person wants to become committee, or if your application is contested. Thus, it is imperative to consider advanced planning and grant a power of attorney when you are still in good mental health.
The estate lawyers at Hammerberg Lawyers LLP are experienced in estate planning and litigation, including committee applications. If you or your loved one require assistance in managing affairs, contact us for more information.