If you have been asked to help someone as an Attorney under a Power of Attorney, a Representative under a Representation Agreement, and you’re not sure what to do, we can help. If you need to make a Committeeship application for someone, we can help.

What is a Committee?

committee (pronounced “kaw-mit-tea”) is a person who has been granted a court order to look after another incapable person. Committeeship is the process of legally managing the person or the financial affairs of an incapable person.

When would a Committee be necessary?

Each person is presumed to be capable of managing their personal, health care and financial affairs themselves.

But if a person becomes incapable, either mentally or physically, to the point where they are unable to manage themselves or their affairs, or harming themselves, then it might be necessary for a family member or friend to be appointed as their Committee.

In a perfect world, each of us would have made a Power of Attorney or Representation Agreement (or both) that appoints someone to help deal with our affairs if needed.

Those Attorneys and Representatives can do a lot to help a person who is experiencing difficulties with physical or mental capacity.

Unfortunately, not everyone makes these documents, and if they get sick, they could find themselves in a kind of legal “limbo” where they cannot deal with their own affairs, and no one else has been given the proper authority to do so either. This is one situation when a family member or friend might have to apply to court to be the disabled person’s committee.

It can also be challenging if the adult who is experiencing the mental or physical difficulties is harming themselves in some way. An Attorney or a Representative can help the adult, but they don’t necessarily have the power to stop the adult from doing certain things.

In some situations, the only way to stop an adult from doing things which harm themselves or their estate is to have a Committee appointed for them – as part of this process, the adult is declared incapable (either physically, mentally or both), which means they no longer have the right to act on their own behalf. The Committee must act for them alone.

Who would act as a committee?

The court appoints a committee.

You can nominate the person you want to act for you as your Committee. The court can consider that nomination, but if that person turns out to be inappropriate, the court can pick someone else instead.

If you haven’t nominated someone to be your committee, the court will consider several issues when thinking about who to appoint as your committee.