Adult Guardianship / Committeeship
Legally reviewed. Last update made in June 2023.
What does Adult Guardianship mean?
Adult Guardianship refers to a legal process where:
- an adult (19+) can be declared incapable; and
- a person or persons, trust companyTrust Company: a financial institution that can administer estates, trusts, pension plans and agency contracts., or the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, can take over managing decisions related to the adult’s health care, personal care, financial matters and/or legal matters.
Who is vulnerable to Adult Guardianship?
When an adult (19+) in BC:
- needs assistance making decisions;
- informal help is insufficient; and
- there is no Representation Agreement (and/or Enduring Power of Attorney) in place,
an adult is vulnerable to guardianship.
How does Adult Guardianship happen?
This process can happen through:
- Committeeship: an appointment of a “committee” through the court, or
- Statutory Property Guardianship: through legislation, where the Public Guardian and Trustee acts as the guardian of the adult’s property.
How do you avoid Adult Guardianship?
With personal planning, you can prevent the need for Adult Guardianship/Committeeship.
You can make one or more legal documents in advance to authorize those you trust to assist you or if necessary to act on your behalf if your mental capability is called into question.
Most important, in BC, a Representation Agreement under section 7 (RA7) standard powers was designed to be a legal alternative to Adult Guardianship/Committeeship for adults whose mental capability is in question now. An adult may make an RA7 even if they cannot manage their own affairs or make decisions independently and their mental capability is in question.
In BC, Adult Guardianship/Committeeship is the last resort; and alternatives including the RA7 must be explored first. Click here for RA7 forms provided by Nidus.
Some effects of Adult Guardianship/Committeeship:
- The adult loses his or her decision-making rights. This is sometimes called “civil death”.
- In the legal realm, the adult becomes a non-person.
- The adult will likely have a guardian/committee for the rest of his or her life; adult guardianship is difficult to reverse.
Adult Guardianship & Committeeship FAQs
Section 7 Representation Agreement
Section 9 Representation Agreement
Enduring Power of Attorney
Rights to End Statutory Property Guardianship (PDF)
Adult Guardianship Act (BC)
Patients Property Act (BC)
Patients Property Act Rules (BC)
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