The Lawyer’s Duty With Older Adults
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.