While still legally capable, an individual has the right to grant power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member. This allows the person with the power of attorney (also known as a substitute decision-maker) to make decisions about the grantor’s property or personal care if the grantor eventually loses their legal capacity.
Substitute decision-makers have extensive powers over fundamentally important aspects of the grantor’s life. For this reason, it is crucial to be careful when choosing a future substitute decision-maker. This decision will have a massive impact on your future health and financial well-being. An attorney without the necessary skill and knowledge to make the requisite decisions, or one who will act in their own self-interest rather than the interest of the grantor, can have significant negative implications for the grantor and his/her estate. Unfortunately, such situations do arise.
If you are the friend or loved one of a grantor and are concerned about their appointed substitute decision-maker, the experienced estate litigation lawyer at NULaw in Toronto can help you navigate your options. Our firm, and its predecessors, have been helping clients with power of attorney challenges since 1953, and we work hard to help clients ensure the interests of their loved ones are protected.
Given the importance of the role of attorneys, it is not surprising that disputes often arise over the validity of a power of attorney, the decisions made by attorneys, and other related matters.
Common power of attorney disputes include:
Acting as an attorney for personal care or an attorney for property for an incapable person involves considerable time and effort, and can attract significant liability. In recognition of this, Ontario legislation compensates attorneys for their work.
Compensation for attorneys is a heavily litigated area of estates law. These disputes can get complicated and acrimonious, particularly where an attorney is accused of not acting in the best interests of the grantor.
Removing an attorney for property or an attorney for personal care is difficult. Courts are generally reluctant to interfere with a grantors choice for an attorney (which was made when the grantor was fully legally capable).
However, despite the challenges with removing an attorney, situations do arise where this becomes necessary. Often a family member, friend, or loved one of the grantor makes the decision to attempt to remove an attorney out of concern for the grantor’s best interests.
Attorneys can be removed for breach of fiduciary duty. In lieu of removal, courts can also order that the attorney take certain actions, such as consulting with family members of the grantor.
At NULaw in Toronto, we provide effective legal guidance with power of attorney disputes, including compensation disputes and removal disputes. If you are concerned about a friend, family member, or loved one contact us online or at 416-481-5604 to book a consultation today.