Estates & Wills & Trusts

Appointed attorneys have difficult job

While being appointed an estate trustee or attorney for property by a friend or family member is touching, it's also a time-consuming and difficult task that can involve a lot of finger pointing, Toronto trust and estate litigator Felice Kirsh writes in Lawyers Weekly.  Read Lawyers Weekly

"Being an attorney for property for an incapable person is particularly difficult," writes Kirsh.

"Acting in a fiduciary capacity, inevitably you are answerable not only to the person whose affairs you are managing and/or the Public Guardian and Trustee on his or her behalf, but to the family members. While the duties of an attorney for property for an incapable person are clearly set out in the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA), the day-to-day reality of following such duties is fraught with difficulty."

It's important for individuals taking on these jobs to be aware of their requirements, the article says.

"The best advice you can give an attorney for property is to take the job seriously, to spend time at the job (the time element may differ dramatically depending on the size and complexity of the assets being managed) and to document the time you have spent, the issues you have considered and the decisions you have made," writes Kirsh.

"Additionally, the attorney should get advice from experts in appropriate fields. The attorney must always keep in mind that he or she is acting as a fiduciary for the sole benefit of the person whose assets he or she is managing."

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