A representation agreement is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint a representative who will make decisions on their behalf in case they become incapacitated. This agreement is a crucial aspect of estate planning and ensures that your wishes are upheld if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. However, it is essential to note that for a representation agreement to be legally binding, it must be witnessed by individuals who meet specific criteria.
In Canada, a representation agreement must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must meet certain eligibility requirements to ensure that they are qualified to attest to the signing of the agreement. The requirements for witnesses differ depending on the type of representation agreement being signed.
For a standard representation agreement, the witnesses must meet the following criteria:
1. The witnesses must be at least 19 years old.
2. They must be mentally competent and able to understand the nature and consequences of the agreement.
3. The witnesses cannot be a designated representative or an alternate representative appointed in the agreement.
4. They cannot be related to the individual signing the agreement by blood, marriage, or adoption.
If the individual signing the agreement cannot meet the criteria for a standard representation agreement, there are two types of agreements that can be signed: an enhanced representation agreement or a section 7 representation agreement.
An enhanced representation agreement allows the individual to appoint a representative to make decisions regarding healthcare, personal care, and legal matters. This agreement can only be witnessed by a lawyer or notary public who confirms that the individual fully understands the nature and consequences of the agreement.
A section 7 representation agreement is for individuals who have a developmental disability, mental disorder, or brain injury that affects their ability to understand and make decisions. This agreement must be witnessed by a social worker or healthcare provider who confirms that the individual understands the nature and consequences of the agreement.
In summary, who can witness a representation agreement varies depending on the type of agreement being signed and the eligibility criteria that must be met. For a standard representation agreement, the witnesses must be mentally competent, at least 19 years old, and cannot be related to the individual signing the agreement. For an enhanced representation agreement, only a lawyer or notary public can witness the agreement, while a social worker or healthcare provider must witness a section 7 representation agreement. It is essential to ensure that the right witnesses are present when signing a representation agreement to ensure that it is legally binding and upholds your wishes.