McLellan Herbert, Barristers & Solicitors
McLellan Herbert, Barristers & Solicitors
Serving Clients’ Estate Planning And Litigation Needs
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Advance care documents: Essential parts of your estate plan

Estate plans are an immensely valuable tool for Canadians. These plans can provide critical direction and guidance regarding financial and legal matters that can arise when a person passes away. However, plans for end-of-life care or long-term care will also be essential to a person’s legacy.

An Advance Care Plan allows you to specify your wishes regarding healthcare decisions in the event of an emergency or if you cannot communicate your wishes to healthcare providers.

Three parts of an Advance Care Plan

Generally, there are three parts that comprise an Advance Care Plan. Each component serves a distinct function, but there may be some overlap.

Advance directives

Advance directives are written documents defining the type of medical treatment you want or do not want in case of incapacitation. They can be very specific or very general but typically include your decisions about life-prolonging treatment, including whether to administer or withhold:

  • Fluids or nourishment
  • Pain relief
  • Use of a ventilator to assist in breathing
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Extension of life in case of an incurable or irreversible injury or illness

Directives also include your wishes regarding whether you wish to receive end-of-life care at home, in the hospital or in hospice.

Power of attorney

Assigning a power of attorney means that you are designating a trusted person to handle your affairs and make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This can include:

  • Making financial decisions
  • Paying bills
  • Depositing checks
  • Handling applications for benefits
  • Dealing with insurance companies

Representation agreement

Representation agreements are legal documents that appoint a person to make medical and personal decisions if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. A representative’s duties differ from those of the power of attorney designee, as this individual is only responsible for healthcare and personal decisions. However, the same person can be designated to handle both.

Putting the pieces together

The B.C. government offers an online guide to help you through the steps of creating advanced care plans. And having legal guidance can ensure these tools are valid and enforceable.

Advanced care planning tools work with your will, trusts, and other information regarding your assets and legal affairs. They not only ensure that others follow your wishes but can also take the burden off your loved ones who must make emotionally charged decisions in light of your incapacity or after your passing.