Tag: power of attorney litigation
The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Dzelme v Dzelme acts as a helpful reminder that even if an attorney has standing to seek a passing of accounts, the Court may still refuse to grant the passing.
John was named as the attorney for personal care for his father, Ritvers, and sought an accounting of Ritver’s financial affairs from his brother Arnis (Ritvers’ other son) who was the attorney for property. Both John and Arnis agreed that John, given that he was an attorney for personal care, could apply under section 42(4)(1) of the Substitute Decisions Act for a passing of accounts without leave. Nonetheless, the Court of Appeal identified that even if a person has standing to apply for an accounting, it remains the discretion of the Court to order a passing of accounts.
In deciding whether to order the passing, the superior court judge made the following findings of fact: (i) both the father and mother were capable when they executed written instructions to Arnis not to produce any financial information about his affairs to John; (ii) the mother maintained this position in response to John’s motion; (iii) a capacity assessment found that the mother was capable of making her own decisions; (iv) a third brother corroborated Arnis’ evidence that he was abiding by his parent’s wishes; (v) the application judge did not doubt that Arnis was following his mother’s wishes; and, (vi) there was no reason to suspect that Arnis was acting improperly with respect to certain transactions.
On this basis, the Court of Appeal upheld the application judge’s dismissal of John’s request for an order that Arnis pass his accounts of Ritver’s property.
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The term “Elder Abuse” has become increasingly prevalent in the media over the past few years. The term means different things to different people. Television programs and feature articles in newspapers have occasionally chronicled tragic occurrences of physical mistreatment of residents of long-term care facilities.
Apart from such physical abuse and neglect of the elderly, financial abuse is also increasingly reported in the media. Terms such as “scam artist” and “predator” are commonly invoked to describe those who seek to defraud the elderly. Police forces in urban centres commonly have investigators exclusively assigned to the protection of the elderly (and others) from such threats. The Public Guardian and Trustee has a similar mandate in the civil context. In Toronto, the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly has the protection of the elderly as one of its mandates.