In recent weeks, we’ve discussed topics like Advanced Medical Directives and Representation Agreements in the blog. These legal documents serve a valuable and specific purpose, with an individual capable of drafting them in advance to fit their future needs.
If an individual fails to plan in advance, a mechanism known as a Nomination of Committeeship can be used by the courts to appoint a person(s) to make those crucial decisions relating to financial or medical issues.
This “Committee” acts as a last resort option when an individual becomes medically incapable of deciding for themselves. Let’s learn more about how the Nomination of Committeeship works.
What is a Nomination of Committee?
If an adult becomes mentally incapable of making important decisions for themselves, the BC Supreme Court can nominate a Committee to make the decisions on their behalf. As we mentioned earlier, the appointing of a Committee is usually viewed as a last resort. Once the decision is made to proceed with a Nomination of Committee, it strips an individual’s right to decide things for themselves.
When is a Committee Appropriate?
There’s a high threshold for the creation of a Committee in BC Law. It’s suitable for individuals who may suffer from a mental illness or handicap, someone rendered unconscious from an injury, or someone dealing with a degenerative disease with a poor prognosis.
The reason it’s limited in this fashion is due to the power afforded to the committee in areas like finance and medical care. Above all else, it’s vital these incapacitated individuals are not taken advantage of when their right to decide their own outcome is taken away.
How the Process Works
Committees are appointed by the BC Supreme Court. Any person can apply in court to appoint a committee for any other person. In fact, you can nominate your own committee as a future contingency plan thanks to the BC Patients Property Act (PPA). When this nomination is presented to the court, they must appoint the person(s) named unless there is a valid reason not to do so.
If you are close to a family member or friend who has lost the capability to make their own decisions you can apply to the BC Supreme Court for appointment to their committee. The only requirement is for two doctors to state the person is medically incapable of making their own decision. BC courts have the right to appoint more than one individual to the committee in question.
Committees come in two types. Let’s examine the differences
Committee of Estate: This type of committee limits nominees to making financial and legal decisions only. This type of Committee is the most common seen in BC, as individuals often lose the capacity to manage their financial and legal affairs before they lose the capability to look after themselves.
Committee of Person: Limited to personal and medical decisions only. This includes whether to accept medical treatments, or whether to place the individual into long term care. Typically, this position will be filled by a family member or close friend.
When is the Committee’s Power Removed?
There are two scenarios for the removal of responsibility from the Committee. If the individual dies, the Committee will continue to represent them until someone is appointed to handle their estate.
Should the individual become capable again, they can apply to court to end the role of the committee.
Learn More About Nomination of Committees
If you, or a loved one, is interested in finding out more about Nomination of Committees we’d love to discuss your options. Westside Family Law can assist with any legal questions you may have surrounding estate law. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.