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Representation Agreements: Benefits and Drawbacks


This is a blog post by Victoria lawyer John Jordan. John practices Estate and Trust Law in Victoria


Representation agreements provide a mechanism whereby adults may arrange in advance how, when and by whom, decisions about their health care or personal care, the routine management of their financial affairs, or other matters will be made if they become incapable of making decisions independently.

We have recommended that clients consider the use of powers of attorney for giving others authority over their financial affairs, and a representation agreement for the purpose of giving others authority over health care and personal care decisions.

Some of the benefits and drawbacks of a representation agreement are:


  1. The ability, by document, to legally and directly empower someone to make health decisions for you.

  2. The ability to identify generally (for example, major health care decisions as opposed to minor health care decisions) and specifically (for example, abortion, electroconvulsive shock therapy) the decisions your representative can or cannot make.

  3. The comfort of knowing that your representative must follow your known wishes and beliefs.

  4. The ability to have the agreement come into effect now or later, and to specify the circumstances that bring it into effect.

  5. The ability to override the statutory scheme of consent to health care by substitute decision makers.

  6. The ability to bring the agreement into effect without court proceedings.

  7. The ability to give someone authority to help you make decisions rather than only to make them on your behalf.


  1. Costs of preparing the agreement, and costs of representatives and monitors acting on it.

  2. Complexity, including the potential desire for medical advice and legal advice for the representative(s).

  3. All parties must sign the representation agreement.

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