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An advanced care plan, sometimes referred to as a living will, is a written summary of a capable adult’s wishes and instructions to guide a substitute decision maker to make health care decisions on behalf of the adult. Advanced care planning is a process where a capable adult documents their beliefs, values, wishes and decisions for their future health care, including end-of-life care, to be used when the adult is no longer capable of communicating on their own behalf. This may include a Representation Agreement, an Advanced Directive, or an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Advanced Directive

An Advance Directive provides your health care provider with health care instructions they must follow if you become incapable. It is a legal document that contains your written instructions to your health care provider about the health care you consent to or refuse in case you are incapable of deciding so at the time the care is needed. Health care providers will not choose a temporary substitute decision maker to make decisions for you if your advance directive has instructions about the care that is needed.

Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document used to give another person the authority to make decisions about financial and legal affairs on behalf of an adult who has lost their mental capacity and is no longer capable of making these decisions. An EPA is limited to financial or property decisions and cannot make lifestyle, accommodation, or medical decisions.

Representation Agreement

A Representation Agreement names someone to make your health and personal care decisions if you become incapable. There are two types of Representation Agreements:

  • Standard Representation Agreement (Section 7) allows representatives to make decisions about health care, personal care and routine financial matters but does not allow them to make decisions about life support or life-prolonging medical intervention.
  • Enhanced Representation Agreement (Section 9) does not allow your representative to make financial decisions for you but it does allow them to make personal care and health care decisions, including the ability to refuse life support or decline life-prolonging medical intervention.


B.C. Government

Regional Health Authorities

Public Guardian and Trustee

Seniors First BC

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry