Prudent Practice: Acting for the Aging Client

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This paper provides tips for solicitors acting for an aging client in estate planning matters. Topics discussed include identifying the client, running the meeting, setting expectations, using checklists, and potential red flags. Additionally, the legal test for capacity is reviewed, and tips for assessing capacity are provided, such as note-taking, having the client summarize his or her intentions, using checklists, and creating a testamentary capacity list of questions. Other capacity tests for powers of attorney and personal directives are also highlighted, and the utility of having a medical assessment of testamentary capacity is considered. The paper also provides tips and cautions for undue influence and joint retainers.

This paper is part of a collection presented at LESA’s Capacity and Influence seminar held in Edmonton on March 1, 2017 and in Calgary on March 8, 2017.

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