Your Parents Have Dementia–Why You Need A Committee

Estate Planning and Litigation

When members of your family or loved ones become mentally incapable, they need someone to help them with their legal, financial, and health decisions. Mental incapacity usually occurs when a person suffers from a degenerative disease, including dementia, mental illness, an accident or other disability to the extent that they are not capable of making appropriate decisions for themselves.

A Committee can be granted by a court of law, which appoints a person or organization to manage the incapacitated person’s affairs. More than one person can act as the Committee in a co-committeeship role. There are two types of Committee, including:

  • Committee of Estate
  • Committee of Person

A Committee of Estate allows a person to make financial and legal decisions for another. A family member, the Public Guardian and Trustee, or close friend may be granted the Committee upon finding that the person is incapable under the Adult Guardianship Act. Whereas, a Committee of Person can also be a family member or close friend but they can only be appointed by a court. Committee of Person can make personal, health and medical decisions for the incapacitated party.

For a Committee of Person, you must apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to be appointed Committee under the Patient’s Property Act. This Act requires that you must first prove that the person is mentally incapable, which can be supported by affidavits from two physicians along with other supporting evidence and documents. Under a Committee of Person, you can make important decisions relating to incapacitated person’s care, living arrangements and health decisions.

A Committee is different from a power of attorney. A power of attorney will provide similar rights and responsibilities as a Committee; however, a power of attorney is only effective when the person who grants the power of attorney is still mentally competent to make decisions at the time they sign the power of attorney. If a loved one is no longer mentally capable, executing a power of attorney is no longer an effective option and a Committeeship application must be made.

A Committee gives you the right to manage and take responsibility for the person’s affairs while they are still alive. As a result, a Committee provides you with significant rights to another person’s financial and personal matters. Therefore, a Committee application can be complex but our estate litigation lawyers can guide you through the legal and factual requirements to support your Committee to help you care and support your loved ones.

To learn more about the benefit of a committee, or for assistance with any other estate matters, please contact any member of our Estate Planning and Litigation Group.

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Lindsay Kenney’s experienced estate planning lawyers can assist at any point in the planning process, from will preparation, trust planning, charitable planning and business succession planning, to estate litigation, disputes, Committeeship and more. We acknowledge each client’s individual differences and cater our work and interactions to best match each unique situation.

This article is intended to be an overview of the law and is for informational purposes only. Readers are cautioned that this article does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. Rather, readers should obtain specific legal advice in relation to the issues they are facing