Who should be the Committee when two family members want to be appointed?

  • The court will consider the best interests of the patient.
  • The court may chose the person who is emotionally or physically closest to the patient, or the one who is best able to consult with the family about decisions affecting the patient.
  • The court may appoint 2 people as co-committees.
  • The court may require that the Committee advise family members about important issues affecting the patient.

We represented the niece of a woman with Alzheimer’s Disease.  She applied to become Committee.  The patient’s son opposed this, and asked to be made Committee. 

The extended family of the patient had been deeply divided by an old land dispute.  Despite this and the fact that the patient and her sons had been a relatively close family for many years, when the patient needed help she reached out to her niece, not her son.  The niece provided substantial assistance to her, and eventually applied to become the committee.

The judge was concerned that the son lacked commitment to caring for the needs of his mother.  However, other family members had confidence in his ability to act as the committee.  The judge also noted that one of the casualties of the lengthy family dispute was that the niece was not close to other family members of the patient.  He felt that the absence of that relationship had the potential to affect the relationship of those family members with the patient, and that was not in the patient’s best interests.  In the circumstances, it was better to appoint the son.

In another case we represented one of the two daughters of the patient.

One daughter, Ms. McLennan, had been estranged from the patient for over 50 years after the patient left her father.  She had made some efforts to rebuild the relationship in recent years, until the patient no longer recognized her.  The other daughter, Ms. Melody, had been close to the patient and had been involved in her care as her health declined.  The patient had few assets, which Ms. McLennan found suspicious, as she felt the patient should have many more assets.  The patient’s financial affairs had been handled by a friend of the patient for a number of years, under a Power of Attorney, but that friend had died a year earlier. 

The court decided that Ms. Melody should be the sole committee of the patient.  She was closest emotionally to the patient, had been the person who had helped with appointments, living and care arrangements, and had continued to visit very regularly.  She was best able to provide love and support to the patient.  She was the person most familiar with the patient’s financial affairs, her former life and spending habits, and was the sole beneficiary of the patient’s will.  This made her the person best equipped to manage the patient’s financial affairs, and to inquire into the past financial dealings of the patient’s deceased friend.

The court elected not to appoint the step-sisters as joint committees.  The judge felt that such an arrangement would not function well as the two did not see eye-to-eye.  Any dissension would not be in the patient’s best interests.

If you need to be appointed as Committee, we can help.  Contact us.

Read the cases:  Re Atwal, Re Rodsgaard Estate

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