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Power Of Attorney

A Power Of Attorney Primer

My friend Moe was appointed an attorney. He took on the role with the attitude – “how hard could it be?” He then asked me where he could find a Power of Attorney for Dummies book. I could not find one. So in honour of my friend Moe I wrote this primer on what to do once you have been named as a power of attorney for property.
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Advising The Orthodox Jewish Litigant

The purpose of this paper is to provide litigation lawyers and other interested parties with insight into the specific needs of Orthodox Jewish clients. It is important in developing a litigation strategy for those clients to understand how some of the tenets of their faith impact on the litigation of disputes and the financial and personal risk that the clients may be placed in as a result.
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Taking The Money

Taking all the money out of the joint account?

What happens when two people have a joint bank account and one of them decides to withdraw all the money? That’s one of the questions that the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) addressed in Zeligs v. Janes]. The case is a good case to read for those who want to better understand the law of joint tenancy, tenancy in common and joint bank accounts. For the purposes of this blog our focus is on just one question – when one joint tenant empties out the account, what are the rights of the other joint tenant? Let’s review the case and then discuss the BCCA’s conclusions on this point.
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Supreme Court Of Canada

Right to Refuse to Refer Patients to Physicians For Assisted Suicide?

Do Canadian doctors have a right to refuse to refer patients to physicians who will assist them to commit suicide?

The unanimous decision in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), released on February 6, 2015, drastically changed the landscape of Canadian law with respect to physician-assisted death (“PAD”).

The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) set aside those provisions in the Criminal Code that criminalized PAD. The Carter decision specifically does not impose any obligation on doctors to participate in any way in PAD and leaves the balancing of patients’ and doctors’ rights to first be addressed by the legislature and regulating bodies. In its newly introduced legislation, Bill C-14, Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government chose not to address the issue. The College of Physicians and Surgeons (the “College”) wants to impose an obligation on physicians to make referrals to patients seeking PAD.

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Entitlement to Support Despite Prenuptial Agreement

When wealthy people marry, their lawyers often advise them to ensure that their fiancé signs a prenuptial agreement. The goal is to protect the wealthy person’s family in case, the marriage breaks up and/or the wealthy spouse dies. So, if the couple each hire good lawyers and the prenuptial contract clearly spells out their agreement, is that ‘pre-nup’ still open to challenge? Maybe. Let’s look at the law.
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Power Of Attorney

Still Don’t Have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

No one likes talking about getting sick or dying. But in today’s world, choosing a Power of Attorney (POA) is a difficult conversation we need to have with our loved ones. A Power of Attorney grants a person of your choosing the power to make important financial and medical decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to. However, studies show that 56% of Canadians have not written their will or powers of attorney. As a result, there are a growing number of families that have had to deal with difficult, stressful situations when a family member becomes ill or incapacitated.
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Attempted Suicide Is Not A Quasi Advanced Directive!

According to a recent news report, certain doctors in Quebec declined to revive patients who attempted suicide. Their rationale? The attempt to kill oneself constituted an advanced directive. I specifically am not commenting on any possible criminal liability, if any, because criminal law is not my expertise. But, as a lawyer who is certified as a specialist in estates and trusts law, I wholly disagree with the characterization of a suicide attempt as constituting an advanced directive. As a person who believes in the sanctity of life I take exception to the conduct of those doctors in Quebec.
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Discrimination Because Of Sexual Orientation

Is it legal to disinherit someone because of his or her sexual orientation?

There are those who would argue that in Ontario, testamentary freedom is paramount. That means that, when making his will, the father had every right to be prejudiced, mean, whimsical or even cruel. After all, the argument goes, it’s the father’s money and he can do whatever he wants with it. Why should the law interfere with a person’s will if the law would permit the father to do what he wanted to do with his money during his lifetime? The father could have donated all of his money to charity before dying, or spent it all at the casino. There are many lawyers and academics who take this view. There are others who disagree.
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Supreme Court Of Canada

Jewish physicians’ freedom of conscience and religion and the Carter Case

How does the decision in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) (“Carter”) impact on the religious Jewish doctor? Will this landmark decision bring into conflict these doctors’ freedom of conscience and religion with their professional obligations? The Carter case sets aside federal criminal laws as they relate to physician assisted suicide. It stands for the proposition that individuals who are suffering unbearably have a constitutional right to a physician-assisted suicide. Canada now joins only eight other countries in the world that have decriminalized physician-assisted suicide in recent years. This is a fundamental change in the law.
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Do you really want to be an executor?

As the person managing the administration of the estate, executors are often the most readily available target for disgruntled or disinherited beneficiaries. If the risk is not effectively managed, serving as an executor can entangle you in costly litigation. If you are named as an executor in a will, it is important to consider the implications of acting as an executor before you take any steps to administer an estate. Also, keep in mind that the role of executor becomes complicated when parties dispute which is the valid last will and testament. Such was the case in Dueck.
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Estate Litigation

Interpreting a Will: Small Details, Large Consequences

Sometimes, people in second marriages who make wills balance two loyalties. On the one hand there are the children of the first marriage. On the other hand there is the new spouse. The road often travelled is to provide the spouse with a life interest in the estate assets. But, what does that mean? For example, who should pay the realty taxes or repairs? What about landscaping or utilities? If the intent was to provide the spouse with income to support her is she entitled to give that money away to someone else? Well – that depends on what the will says.
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Power Of Attorney

When an acting power of attorney isn’t the right person for the job

When the time comes to consider estate planning options, there are a variety of different legal mechanisms that you can use to protect your personal and financial interests. One of the most effective ways of ensuring that your wishes are respected if you become infirm or incapable of making decisions is to grant a power of attorney for property or personal care to someone you trust. The only problem is that the future is uncertain and family dynamics change. The person named as your attorney today might not be the best person for the job when it really matters. If the person appointed as your parent’s power of attorney drops the ball, are you stuck with that power of attorney or do you have options?
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