When you’re a small business owner, it’s important to plan for the future.
When you have a Representation Agreement, it ensures that you have a key legal document in British Columbia for incapacity planning/advance care planning. It’s a legally enforceable document used in case of incapacity, end-of-life, and other support needs.
A Representation Agreement appoints one or more persons as your representative to manage your personal affairs and healthcare in the case that you are incapable to do so due to illness, injury, or age.
Note that you must be 19 years of age or older to create a Representation Agreement.
When is the Representation Agreement effective?
The agreement is effective from the date it is executed. Once it is finalized, the person(s) you choose can manage your healthcare and personal affairs whenever they are needed.
What are the two types of Representation Agreements?
In British Columbia, the two kinds of Representation Agreements are Section 7 agreements and Section 9 agreements. Here is the difference:
- Limited in scope
- Often used if you already lost some mental capacity
- Used to authorize a representative(s) to make decisions on your behalf, including decisions regarding basic financial affairs and obtaining legal services
- Broader authorities
- Can authorize a representative(s) to do anything that they consider necessary to your personal and healthcare, including care of your minor children
- Representative(s) can make end-of-life decisions for you
- You’re able to include specific instructions or wishes in the agreement itself
- Note: There is a capacity requirement in which you must have the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the agreement
What happens if you don’t have a Representation Agreement?
If you become incapable and lack a Representation Agreement, a family member, friend, or even the Public Guardian and Trustee may have to apply to the court for authority to manage your personal and healthcare affairs.
Wills and Estate Planning
Wills and estate planning are also especially important for small business owners who own property and assets.
Any Will you create must be in written format, typed or handwritten. You must date it and also sign it in front of two witnesses that are present at the time.
Your Will and estate planning documents must appoint an executor to manage your affairs after death, and also show a clear record of who you want to leave your business to and how it should be operated.
What happens if you don’t have a Will?
If you pass away without any written estate instructions, you’ll become what’s known as an intestate. That means your estate will be divided up according to the laws of the province you lived in.
The usual priority is:
- Distant family members (nieces and nephews)
Without clear instructions, and without an executor specifically chosen by you, there may also be delays, additional expenses and significant inconvenience to your survivors in settling your affairs.
By having a Will, you’ll ensure that those you leave your assets to will have a smoother process. You can also be assured that any actions taken for your personal and business affairs won’t be against your wishes.
Creating a Representation Agreement and Will is essential for any business owner. Working with a small business lawyer will especially guarantee that all legal requirements will be met.
If you have any further questions, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!