Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse is a burgeoning area of family and estate law litigation. As wealthy boomers age and worry about their incapacity, they turn to trusted people to help manage their affairs so they are looked after and their assets and income are kept safe. When the trust they place in others is abused for personal gain at the expense of the person who granted the power of attorney, our senior Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse lawyers get involved to steadfastly protect vulnerable individuals. Hiring a top Vancouver Elder abuse lawyer makes good sense when a loved one is victimized.
Health Link BC identifies financial elder abuse as including:
Illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or assets. This includes forging an older person’s signature, stealing money or possessions, or tricking an older person into signing documents that transfer funds, property, or assets.
MacLean Estate Litigation has 5 offices across BC located in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna, Richmond and Fort St John BC. We have BC’s largest Mandarin speaking family law and estate litigation team and our lawyers are fluent in Punjabi, Cantonese, Hindi, French, German and Russian.
Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse 1-877-602-9900
Our estate litigation and unfair will disputes team is led by senior family law and estate litigation lawyer Lorne N. MacLean, QC.
ELDER ABUSE is both a serious civil and criminal law issue. Did you know Section 331 of the Criminal Code of Canada clearly sets out the offence: Theft by Persons Holding Power of Attorney. This section has been in existence for many decades now but is not well known to the public.
The BC Chapter of the Canadian Bar Association publication on elder abuse notes:
Elder abuse is surprisingly common—1 in 12 seniors in BC is abused. BC’s Adult Guardianship Act tries to protect adults from abuse, neglect and self-neglect. It defines abuse as deliberate mistreatment that causes physical, mental or emotional harm to the adult, or damage to, or loss of, their assets. Elder abuse includes intimidation, humiliation, physical assault, sexual assault, over medication, lack of medication, censoring of mail, invasion of privacy and denial of access to visitors. The BC government website on protection from elder abuse and neglect has more information on the topic.
Click here for some great free Government of BC information on preventing and reporting BC Elder Abuse.
Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse 1-877-602-9900
When someone selects a person to be their power of attorney they are giving them powers over financial matters that require the utmost trust and fidelity. Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse Lawyers as well as the Public Guardian and Trustee can get involved when the person who was appointed by the donor as the attorney goes rogue and breaches that trust in a variety of ways such as:
- Forcing or controlling a person to appoint them power of attorney;
- Lining their pockets with the donor’s money through fraudulent transfers and forgery;
- Treating assets and monies of the donor as their own
- Acting contrary to the best interests of the donor
Be Vigilant To Protect a Loved One From Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse
Our Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse Lawyers warn that being vigilant early on in protecting a loved one from a predatory relationship and fraudulent creation or use of a Power of Attorney is key. In BC a type of Power of Attorney, called Enduring Power of Attorney is the most common now it starts upon execution by the donor and continues into incapability until revocation or death. Call our senior Vancouver Power of Attorney Abuse Lawyers today at 1-877-602-9900.
Duties of a Power of Attorney
Vancouver Power of Attorney Abuse Lawyers explain to clients that a power of attorney carries with it heavy responsibilities and obligations to act only in the interest of the person that granted him the power of attorney. Records must be kept of the income and assets and where they are and what has happened to them.
The BC Power of Attorney Act States:
Duties of attorney
19 (1) An attorney must
(a) act honestly and in good faith,
(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person,
(c) act within the authority given in the enduring power of attorney and under any enactment, and
(d) keep prescribed records and produce the prescribed records for inspection and copying at the request of the adult.
(2) When managing and making decisions about the adult’s financial affairs, an attorney must act in the adult’s best interests, taking into account the adult’s current wishes, known beliefs and values, and any directions to the attorney set out in the enduring power of attorney.
(3) An attorney must do all of the following:
(a) to the extent reasonable, give priority when managing the adult’s financial affairs to meeting the personal care and health care needs of the adult;
(b) unless the enduring power of attorney states otherwise, invest the adult’s property only in accordance with the Trustee Act;
(c) to the extent reasonable, foster the independence of the adult and encourage the adult’s involvement in any decision-making that affects the adult;
(d) not dispose of property that the attorney knows is subject to a specific testamentary gift in the adult’s will, except if the disposition is necessary to comply with the attorney’s duties;
(e) to the extent reasonable, keep the adult’s personal effects at the disposal of the adult.
(4) An attorney must keep the adult’s property separate from his or her own property.
(5) Unless the enduring power of attorney states otherwise, subsection (4) does not apply to property that
(a) is jointly owned by the adult and the attorney as joint tenants or otherwise, or
(b) has been substituted for, or derived from, property described in paragraph (a).
What You Can Do If You Suspect Fraud Or Undue Influence
In a separate blog we wrote on why hiring a lawyer quickly and commencing an action and freezing assets makes sense together with the other remedy of involving the BC Public Guardian and Trustee. The Power of Attorney Act contains sections authorizing complaints to and actions to be taken by The Public Guardian and Trustee. Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse is serious and should not be countenanced.
Reporting to Public Guardian and Trustee
34 (1) In this section, “abuse” and “neglect” have the same meaning as in the Adult Guardianship Act.
(2) Any person may make a report to the Public Guardian and Trustee if the person has reason to believe that
(a) an adult is, or was at the time, incapable of making, changing or revoking an enduring power of attorney,
(b) fraud, undue pressure or some other form of abuse or neglect is being or was used to induce an adult to make, change or revoke an enduring power of attorney, or
(c) an attorney is
(i) abusing or neglecting the person for whom the attorney is acting,
(ii) incapable of acting as an attorney, or
(iii) otherwise failing to comply with an enduring power of attorney or with the duties of an attorney.
(3) If a person makes a report, the Public Guardian and Trustee must promptly review the report and may do one or more of the following:
(a) conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the report, and, if an investigation is conducted, the Public Guardian and Trustee may advise the person who made the report of the outcome;
(b) apply to the court for an order described in section 36;
(c) advise the person who made the report that the person may apply to the court for an order described in section 36;
(d) make a report under section 46 of the Adult Guardianship Act;
(e) take steps under the Patients Property Act to become a committee or take steps under the Adult Guardianship Act to become a statutory property guardian;
(f) take no action, or take any action that the Public Guardian and Trustee considers necessary.
(4) Unless the person acts falsely and maliciously, no action for damages may be brought against a person for
(a) making a report to the Public Guardian and Trustee under this section, or
(b) assisting in an investigation conducted by the Public Guardian and Trustee under this Act.
Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse is becoming more common but it often occurs behind closed doors while the victim is isolated from family members so the person is a Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse victim. If you have concerns you need to hire a power of attorney elder abuse lawyer immediately. Alternatively you can seek an investigation by the Public Guardian and Trustee:
Investigations by Public Guardian and Trustee
35 (1) If the Public Guardian and Trustee has reason to believe that any of the circumstances set out in section 34 (2) exist, the Public Guardian and Trustee may conduct an investigation, regardless of whether a report has been made under that section.
(2) After conducting an investigation, the Public Guardian and Trustee may do anything set out in section 34 (3) (b) to (f).
Hiring a lawyer to trace, freeze and recover missing land and monies promptly is crucial to protecting the victim of Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse. Courts will act to protect victims of elder abuse:
Court directions and orders
The Court has the power to assist in cases where suspicions are raised about the creation and ongoing exercise of powers under the Power of Attorney:
(2) On application by a person, the court may make an order that another person release information to the applicant if the court considers that the information is necessary to determine the incapability of an adult who is making, or who has made, an enduring power of attorney.
(3) On application by the Public Guardian and Trustee or an attorney, the court may make an order that an enduring power of attorney is valid despite a defect in the signing of the enduring power of attorney.
(4) On application by the Public Guardian and Trustee, the court may make any order that the court considers necessary to assist the Public Guardian and Trustee in carrying out the Public Guardian and Trustee’s duties and powers under this Act, including an order directing a person to release information to the Public Guardian and Trustee for the purposes of an investigation.
(5) On application by the Public Guardian and Trustee or a person who made a report to the Public Guardian and Trustee under section 34, the court may make any order that the court considers necessary, including an order
(a) to confirm a change to, or the revocation of, an enduring power of attorney,
(b) to terminate all or part of an enduring power of attorney, or
(c) that, if the application concerns a matter described in section 34 (2) (a) or (b),
(i) the enduring power of attorney and all actions done under it are void, or
(ii) the enduring power of attorney is terminated, but any action done under it before it was terminated is not void.
(6) When making an order under subsection (5), the court must consider the wishes, instructions, beliefs and values of the adult who made the enduring power of attorney, and must not make a contrary order unless
(a) the adult is incapable, and
(b) the order is in the best interests of the adult.
(7) The costs of an application to the court are at the discretion of the court, and the court may order that all or part of those costs be paid from the property of the adult who made the enduring power of attorney.
With more wealthy boomers aging and becoming infirm the problem of Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse is only going to increase. Don’t let your loved one become a victim of Vancouver Power of Attorney Elder Abuse. Call us across BC toll free at 1-877-602-9900.