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Woman alleges late brother's caregivers abused power of attorney

As some people age, they become increasingly reliant on others to look after them. In the absence of close family, some may turn to paid caregivers. There are those who abuse their positions of trust, unfortunately, and prey upon the senior citizens who put their trust in them. A story unfolding in another province may serve as a warning to anyone in British Columbia considering granting power of attorney over his or her affairs.

A 78-year-old man passed away of renal failure in a hospital on May 19, 2013, just one day after arriving by ambulance in poor health. He was suffering from diabetic sores, and staff recalled he looked underweight and uncared for. His caregivers, a husband and wife, described him as a headstrong man who would not heed their pleas to seek medical attention, or take better care of himself.

The deceased man's sister, however, told a different tale. She claimed the couple denied the family access to him for years, and that they took advantage of their position of trust. Her brother signed over power of attorney to the couple not long before his wife passed away in 2010. His female caregiver had formerly been his late wife's housekeeper, and later looked after her when she fell ill. 

In addition to granting them power of attorney, the late gentleman named his caregivers as his primary beneficiaries in his will. His sister alleges the couple spent an average of $13,000 per month of her brother's money during his final years, and believes there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the contents of the will. She is contesting the will in court.

Wisely given, a power of attorney is an excellent idea for most men and women. By making a sound decision while one is still possessed of a rational mind, it may be possible to have peace of mind knowing one will be looked after by a trusted loved one should one be unable to do so for oneself. A good and thoughtful British Columbia lawyer can help with both the choice of an attorney, and the drafting of the document.

Source: ottawacitizen.com, "Court challenge over elderly man's will may be sign of things to come", Christie Blatchford, May 23, 2017

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