Surrey Committeeship Lawyer
When a family member becomes incapable of managing their own affairs due to mental infirmity arising from disease, age or from the use of drugs, you can be at a loss as to how to manage their affairs and needs. In some cases, spouses or elderly parents have granted a trusted family member, a Power of Attorney when they were capable. However, if a Power of Attorney is not available, the Patients Property Act of BC, allows a person to apply to the Supreme Court to be appointed as a “committee” of that incapable person. Although the cost of making a court application can be complex, time consuming and costly, we can assist you by making the process easy to understand and explain your rights and obligations in a plain and simple fashion.
- The person wanting to apply for the committee application must obtain the opinion of two medical practitioners that the person subject to the application is mentally infirmed (defined as the “Patient” in the Act). The opinions are drafted into affidavits and presented to the Supreme Court as evidence.
- Notice of the application must be provided to the Patient (unless the Court is satisfied that service of the application would be injurious or inadvisable for the Patient) and the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC.
- Depending on the circumstances, a Committee may be ordered by the Court to provide security for the proper performance of their duties. The security is generally in the form of a bond or letter of credit in an amount set by the Court.
Duties and obligations of the Committee:
- The Committee has all the rights, privileges and powers with regard to the estate of the Patient as the Patient would have if the Patient was of full age and of sound and disposing mind, including power over legal and financial matters.
- The Committee has custody of the person of the Patient. This means that the Committee can make medical decisions for the Patient.
- The Committee has a duty to exercise the Committee’s powers for the benefit of the Patient and the Patient’s family, having regard to the nature and value of the property of the Patient and the circumstances and needs of the Patient and the Patient’s family. As well, a Committee has a duty to foster the independence of the Patient and encourage the Patient’s involvement in any decisions affecting the Patient.
- The Committee may be compensated from the Patient’s estate for acting as a committee.
- The Committee must pass accounts (provide an accounting of what they have done with the Patient’s assets) to the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC as directed by them or as set out by the Court.
Termination of the Committeeship:
- If the Patient becomes capable, the Patient or the Committee may apply to the Court to terminate the Committeeship.
- If the Committee no longer wishes to be the committee, they can apply to the Court to be discharged. If there is no replacement committee, the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC will be appointed as the Committee of the Patient.
- Before a Committee can be discharged by the Court, the Court may, and must if requested by the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, order that the Committee pass the accounts.