Ask a Lawyer with Iain Sneddon

Ask a Lawyer on Country 104

Transcript

Announcer 1: We are with Iain Seddon from Cohen Highley, a partner over there, and we have another segment of Ask a Lawyer where we take your questions – any sort of legal question, whether it’s family law, whether it’s the pandemic, everything in between – and you know we see if Iain can try and help you all out, so if you give us a text or call at 519-643-1039 and we actually just got this one in, and again, all of this too is anonymous, so we’re not going to throw your name out there, we don’t put that personal information out there, so just a 519 number to text it in, and Iain I’m not sure how you’ll be or if you’ll be able to answer this one, but we’ll go from there; for power of attorney of health care who deems someone incapable of shelter decisions if it’s not for long term care? For example, if someone is transitioning to long term care, the home and community care coordinators would do a capacity assessment, but what about the other shelter decisions AKA retirement home, etc.
Iain Sneddon: Wow, that’s a a good question. Somebody’s been thinking about that one for a while so first of all, a Power of Attorney is a right to make decisions, so normally when people get a will, I recommend they get more than simply a will to get a Power of Attorney.

There’re two basic kinds; one is a power of attorney over property, and one is over the person. So, with property, that means decision making, so you might have an elderly parent who can’t go to the ATM machine or can’t go to the bank, but you have authority to act on that person’s behalf. With the person then that would be even broader and would get into decisions about somebody’s medical care.

It could be extremely important if you have different wishes about end of life decisions as opposed to someone else, but there’s lots of positive things in there too that you want to make sure you’re trusting somebody to do this for you. So I always recommend Who do you trust the most? It’s often a spouse, children, typically a relative, sometimes a trusted friend. They often put a lawyer as a backup. The only thing I’d caution people about there and they wouldn’t give them, sorry on power of attorney, they wouldn’t normally name their lawyer that would be more for the will.

But in this particular case with a home, the way somebody is deemed incapable of making decisions is effectively a test on their capacity. So one of the questions we might ask is how much do you spend on groceries in a week? And if somebody says, oh, that costs a billion dollars.

Announcer 1: OK.
Iain Sneddon: Then the lawyers alerted to hey, this person may not be confident they say it’s, although with inflation, maybe it would be a reasonable answer soon enough, but you know, they said something like $200 a week or $100 a week, that would be a test, so questions like that often lawyers assess, there are assessors that are in place, and then ultimately, a judge can make a decision. So there is a whole process that can go through it, and the best thing is get all those questions answered at the beginning, when you retain a lawyer in the first place.
Announcer 2: All right, OK, we always learn so much Iain. 
Iain Sneddon: Wow, that was long. 
Announcer 1: That was a big one, but you know what? That was a fully loaded question, but I like how you broke it down piece by piece and gave examples and that’s exactly what you know we’re looking for here. You know, those questions that, you know, we wouldn’t know the answer to or won’t be able to help out, but you’ve got that extensive knowledge. So if anyone has any other questions you know, we’ll keep Iain here for a couple more minutes and see if we can get something else, but 519-643-1039. 
Part II
Announcer 1: Iain Sneddon, who is also fantastic, he joins us from Cohen Highley Lawyers as we have another segment of Ask a Lawyer you can call us and text us any of your law related questions and Iain will do his best to answer them…and Kendra, we just got a message a few minutes ago. 
Announcer 2: Yeah, we just got a text, and it says this one’s for Iain, it says; what happens if someone disagrees with a burial plan? For example, a parent has passed away and the point of attorney decides to bury / costs about $5000 from the estate, and the other sibling is wanting to cremate. Does the POA have a decision that trump’s the other family members? 
Iain Sneddon: Wow, that’s a good question, again. 
Announcer 2: Umm, just before I get to that, not that I’m avoiding the question, but I just want to say I agree with you, I really like Brad Paisley so…
Announcer 1: OK, I’m right. Thanks Ian.  
Iain Sneddon: …but that’s not why you brought me on. 
Announcer 1: We got, that’s exactly. It we got this, the approval from Iain Sneddon for more Brad Paisley.
Announcer 2: We’ll take it.
Iain Sneddon: Alright, so now I’ll talk about something that I know something about rather than, although I like his music, so the question here has to do with the wishes and preferences of someone in their will, typically. One of the reasons it is really important to have a will in the first place, is all those questions will go out the window and there’ll be a complete void if there’s no will in place, there are financial consequences, but just from a decision making standpoint, it’s tricky.
Iain Sneddon: When somebody has died there and there’s a will, they appoint a trustee, or sometimes more than one trustee and to the person who texted in, this comes up a lot. 
Iain Sneddon: Sometimes parents will appoint their children, so often their spouse and if their spouse were to predecease them, then their children, and if you have an even number of children and one wants to cremate and the other wants to use a burial plot, you’ve got a problem. So an odd number can sometimes help, but ultimately the best thing to do from my perspective, bear in mind if they want greater expertise in the areas of Estates and Estate Litigation, they should contact Joshua Laplante or Gemma Charlton in our office, but what someone should do with their will, there’s something called a codicil. 
Iain Sneddon: It sounds really fancy and difficult, but it really is just sort of like an attachment to the will, which gives an opportunity for the person to set their wishes so that ideally that conversation has already occurred and the person in their will, or through a codicil, or in some other means has indicated their preference, whether that is cremation, burial, whatever the case may be, and then ordinarily would expect a judge to follow those wishes of the deceased – if they are clearly known, so that’s why it’s important to get it all set up well in advance so you can avoid that problem. 
Announcer 1: OK, I like it. I mean there you go, that’s – you get ahead of it well in advance beforehand, and that way things are a little bit easier to figure out at that point.
Announcer 1: Well, Iain, thank you so much for joining us, as always. Go enjoy the rest of the day today a little bit. I remember you were telling me a little off air that you’re not in court today for the first time in a while, so go enjoy and you don’t have to worry about all that.

If anyone else does though, if they want to ask you a question confidentially, or they want to ask you something personally, how can they contact you? How can they do that?

Iain Sneddon: Well, I’m going to suggest for this morning anyway to go to our website.
Announcer 1: OK.
Iain Sneddon: So that’s cohenhighley.com, and I’d be interested in comments from people. We’ve updated it to try to make it more user friendly, and you know, the old fashioned way can always call us, but hopefully our web will help now.
Announcer 1: OK.
Announcer 2: Awesome, well we love getting advice from you. Hopefully you’ve helped some of our listeners this morning, and as always, if you do need some advice, checkout Iain and our friends at Cohen Highley and we will be chatting with him again next month. If you’ve got a question that can wait, legally, and you want to wait it out, he will be joining us again. Iain, thank you for hopping on and have a wonderful Thursday.
Iain Sneddon: And you too.

 

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