FAQs: Committeeships

Answers to frequently asked questions about Committeeships, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements.

Making decisions regarding the care of a parent, child or relative who is no longer capable of caring for themselves or managing their own affairs can be very difficult. We are here to help you and we invite you to call us or request a free consultation. In the meantime, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

1. What is a Committee?

A Committee is a person appointed by the Court to look after the affairs of a mentally incompetent person.  The application is made under the Patients Property Act.  The mentally incompetent person is referred to as the “patient” even though they may be living independently.

2. What kind of decisions can a Committee make?

They could be just financial decisions, or decisions about every aspect of the person’s life including where they live and what medical treatment they receive.

3. Who can be appointed as a Committee?

Usually family members are appointed, but close friends can be appointed as well. In some cases the Public Guardian and Trustee is appointed.

4. Can the patient nominate a person to be the Committee?

Yes, if the patient is able to express his or her wishes. However, the court may still appoint somebody else, if it would be in the patient’s best interests.

5. How do I nominate a person to be my Committee?

The nomination must be in writing, and must be signed and witnessed in the same way a will is signed and witnessed. We can help you do this correctly.

6. Can a Committee be replaced if they are doing a bad job?

Yes. A Committee can be replaced if they are not acting in the best interests of the patient.

7. Must there be a bond if a Committee is appointed?

In most cases, the Court will require that a bond be posted. The cost of the bond is paid by the patient’s estate. We can arrange the bond for you.

8. Must the application to appoint a Committee be served on the patient?

Yes, except in those cases where service would harm the patient’s health.

9. What medical evidence is required on an application to appoint a Committee?

The opinion of two medical doctors that the patient is incompetent is required. We can assist in obtaining the medical evidence for you.

10. What other evidence is required on an application to appoint a Committee?

An Affidavit of Kindred and Fortune must be filed, setting out the relationship of the applicant to the patient, a description of the patient’s assets and a general plan for the patient’s care and assets.

11. Who pays for the court application?

Generally the patient pays the costs of the court application.

12. If a Committee is appointed, are powers of attorney or representation agreements still valid?

No.

13. Is a Committee required to account for their handling of the patient’s assets?

Yes, a Committee is usually required to pass his or her accounts annually but may be required to do so whenever requested by the Public Guardian and Trustee.

14. Is there a way that I can plan ahead to avoid somebody being appointed as my Committee if I become mentally incapable?

Yes. You can grant an Enduring Power of Attorney to somebody you trust to handle your financial affairs. You can make a Representation Agreement giving somebody you trust the power to handle your personal affairs. We can help you with both of these legal documents.

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