Sometimes an adult is not able to make significant health, personal care or financial decisions on their own. We say that they do not have capacity to make important decisions. This may be because of a brain injury, a disability, or mental health problems, or for other reasons.

People who cannot make important decisions on their own might need another adult to make some or all of those decisions for them.  In those cases a family member or other caring person will sometimes apply to court to ask to be the adult's representative decision-maker or representative.

The Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act, which came into effect on December 28, 2017, gives the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia the power to appoint a representative for an adult who cannot make their own decisions. A representative may have legal responsibilities and duties related to part or all of the adult's finances, personal and health care.  A representative may only make decisions the adult is not able to make on their own.

The new law replaces Nova Scotia’s Incompetent Persons Act, which allowed the court to appoint a guardian for an adult. A guardian made all decisions for the adult whether the adult had the ability to decide a matter or not.

 Get more information about the Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act, and about being a representative decision-maker for an adult at