The Lawyer’s Duty With Older Adults
July 22, 2015
by Elder Lawyer Rick L. Law. Serving seniors in Western Chicagoland with estate planning, asset protection, retirement income, and elder law. Conveniently located off the I-88 tollway, just west of the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall.
At Law Elder Law, we have been serving seniors and those who love them for ten years. Now I’m a senior citizen. In my experience, few lawyers understand the duty and subtleties of dealing with Rule 1.14, pertaining to older adult clients.
Lawyers face a growing challenge when dealing with older adults. They are now a special class of clients for whom the lawyer must create new service systems. Recently, I presented a Continuing Legal Education class for a wide range of attorneys. Here are some of the key points:
The lawyer has a duty to do a legal analysis of an older adult’s mental capacity:
- Observe and interpret signs of diminished capacity;
- Evaluate understanding in relationships to specific legal elements of capacity to the transaction at hand;
- Consider the degree of risk to the client and the ethical factors set out in the Comment to Rule 1.14;
- Document capacity observations; and
- Take appropriate actions in response.
The most important single factor for an attorney regarding whether or not a person has diminished capacity is whether or not the person is acting in concordance with their longstanding character. The attorney must be willing to spend sufficient time to interview and investigate the longstanding character of the prospective client.
For more information on this topic, see “Alzheimer’s and the Law: Counseling Clients with Dementia and Their Families” by Rick Law and Kerry Peck, published by the American Bar Association.
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!