Elder law is a combination of several sub categories of estate litigation. It encompasses considerations with respect to wills, powers of attorney, healthcare consent, substitute decisions, capacity issues, guardians for property, trusts, estate planning, estate administration, intestacy and succession rights.
These sub categories form the foundational considerations for complex legal issues that require prompt attention and competent action.
Litigation may arise because a loved one passes intestate (without a will), and there may be competing succession rights. Sometimes, a person may have issues understanding and appreciating their assets and liabilities making them temporarily or permanently unable to manage their property, requiring a guardian. On occasion, beneficiaries under a will may realize that the estate administrator/trustee has done something outside the scope of the direction under the will.
In order to help manage a person’s property, a private guardian may be required, should there be no valid and enforceable power of attorney. In some cases, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee or the Office of the Children’s Lawyer may need to be placed on notice with respect to any ensuing estate litigation.
It is not uncommon for trusts to be established during the ordinary course of estate administration. In some cases, advice from financial advisors and chartered accountants is required. However, that may not relieve a trustee from their legal and fiduciary obligations.
These are duties that a fiduciary owes to another party, in part because of the nature of the relationship.