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Planning Your Estate: Representation Agreements

Having discussed the importance of enduring power of attorney (EPOA), we now turn the focus to representation agreements.

An integral part of every estate plan, the representation agreement helps ensure that should you become incapacitated, your personal and health care decisions will be handled in the way that you see fit. 

What Is A Representation Agreement?

A representation agreement is a document whereby one individual authorizes another (the representative) to make decisions related to personal and health care in the event that they lose the ability to do so on their own. By having a representation agreement, not only are you able to decide who will handle your personal affairs, you reduce the chance of requiring government implication which can add stress to an already difficult situation.

Selecting A Representative

The person chosen to act as your representative should be someone that you trust to make important decisions that could significantly impact your life. It is critical to select someone who you can rely on to act in your best interests and who will be able to handle the challenges that the role may present. When asking a person to act as your representative, it is important to recognize that they ultimately have the right to refuse.

Types Of Representative Agreements

Under the Representation Agreement Act, there are two types of representation agreements, each with their own set of powers.

Section 7 authorizes standard powers including minor and major health care decisions, personal care matters, routine financial management, and routine legal services.

Section 9 authorizes enhanced powers including minor and major health care decisions, personal care, and end of life decisions. Unlike Section 7, it does not authorize financial or legal matters.

Representation agreements run the risk of being complex, especially if there are extenuating circumstances to consider. Having an experienced lawyer help you through the planning process is important, given how much is on the line.

The Importance Of Thinking Ahead

Regardless of where life may lead you, having a solid plan in place for the future matters. You don't need a representation agreement but having one can help ease a significant burden on family, friends, and loved ones, a tremendous gift in and of itself.

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