Terminal illness or catastrophic injury may leave you in a state of incapacity, unable to make your own medical and personal health care decisions. If this happens, having a Representation Agreement between you and someone you have chosen will ensure your health care and financial decisions are made in the way you desire.
You can appoint one or several people in your representation agreement. When you appoint several people you can choose to either assign to each person different areas of authority (for example, financial matters to one, and medical decisions to another), or the same areas of authority to all.
If your representation agreement includes routine management of financial affairs, and you also have an enduring power of attorney dealing with your financial affairs and the two documents conflict then the enduring power of attorney takes priority.
Two main types of Representation Agreements
- A section 7 representation agreement – a basic representation agreement that covers your routine day-to-day living requirements e.g Your personal care, the routine management of your financial affairs, minor or major medical decisions, but not decisions to refuse life-supporting care or treatment and certain other significant health care decisions.
- A section 9 representation agreement – gives your representative the authority to make very significant medical and other decisions for you, including the decision to refuse life-supporting treatment.
Often, a person who is not legally capable of making an agreement containing section 9 provisions is still able to make a section 7 agreement.
Representation agreements are useful planning tools that can ensure that the persons of your choice can manage your affairs when you become incapable of doing so, without having to go through the court process. Having both an Enduring Power of Attorney and a representation agreement can significantly reduce the burden on your family and friends, and avoid the government being involved in your personal and health care decisions.