Anyone who has been involved in a power of attorney dispute knows how difficult it can be to “right the wrongs” of a power of attorney who has abused his or her position. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for someone to obtain a power of attorney document and then use the document for malevolent purposes. In such circumstances, overturning the power of attorney document can be a costly and time consuming endeavor.  In fact, often family members do not realize that any financial abuse has occurred until the grantor of the power of attorney has died.

Fortunately, the Law Commission of Ontario has undertaken a study of the laws applicable to substitute decision-making for people who are incapable and has now released its recommendations, as reported in this article by the Toronto Star.

Among the recommendations include the following:

  1. The creation of a “statement of commitment” that the grantor of a power of attorney signs which sets out the legal responsibilities for the attorney;
  2. Once the attorney begins to act in this capacity, he or she would be required to deliver a document entitled, “notice of attorney.” The notice document would need to be sent to the grantor, their spouse and any previous holders of a power of attorney for the incapable person along with anyone else specified by the grantor.
  3. The grantor would have the option of naming a monitor who would have the powers to communicate with the grantor and act in a general supervisory capacity.
  4. The commission proposes the creation of a specialized tribunal with broad jurisdiction to provide “flexible and holistic approaches to disputes.”

As a lawyer with a great deal of professional experience in the areas of elder abuse and power of attorney litigation, I would welcome the implementation of the recommendations discussed above.

Thanks for reading,

Jason