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Common Questions

How can I help a person who cannot manage their own affairs?

Last reviewed in March 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors.

If you are currently helping care for an adult 19 years of age or older who needs assistance with decision making due to dementia, stroke, developmental disability or other condition that has affected their mental capability, there are a few options.

Good starting points include:
  • Personal Planning, from People's Law School, has guides on 1) Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements and 2) Committeeship. Use these guides if someone needs help making decisions about money or care.
  • An Introduction to Adult Guardianship in British Columbia, from the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, highlights six adult guardianship laws and their guiding principles. The Public Guardian and Trustee website has a Reports and Publications page where you can find additional information about adult guardianship.
  • Adult Guardianship, from Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, explains why guardianship happens to adults and how seniors are vulnerable. Learn the differences between private and statutory (the government/state) guardianship. Find out how the Representation Agreement is a legal alternative to adult guardianship. It explains that in BC, adult guardianship is intended to be the last resort.
  • For more information also see Should I have an enduring power of attorney or representation agreement?.

Need more help?

  • Personal Help, from Nidus, provides free information, assistance, and practical tips on personal planning by phone or email to seniors and people in long-term care.
  • Seniors' Legal Clinics, from Seniors First BC, offers free legal consultations for seniors age 55+ (with low-income or other barriers).
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at an agreeable rate of charge.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

adult guardianship, committee, power of attorney, representation agreement, committee of estate, committee of person