Friday, March 24, 2017

---Having a senior declared incompetent is a commonly used legal manoeuvre by POA abusers to nullify the senior’s ability to make choices for themselves, including revoking the POA, says Ann Soden, a Montreal lawyer who specializes in elder law and heads the National Institute of Law, Policy and Aging. Sadly, perpetrators of many types of abuse against seniors are often their own children and others they trust. According to the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, the most conservative statistics suggest one in 12 older Canadians are abused or neglected, with the most commonly reported type of abuse being financial.-------With the epic shift of Canada’s aging demographics, POA documents will be used increasingly to appoint trusted family members or others to handle financial decision-making in the event of medical or cognitive impairment. Today, approximately 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia—within a generation this number will more than double to 1.1 million. Financial abuse by POA can run the gamut from small amounts of money being pilfered from chequing accounts to making off with entire multi-million-dollar estates. Indeed, most standard POA documents grant such absolute power that abusers are often able to rebuff criminal investigation and prosecution by simply telling authorities they were doing what they thought was best or that they didn’t realize they were improperly managing the money. Many experts are now sounding warnings of an impending flood of POA abuses. “This is a community issue that is going to have massive economic repercussions,” says Harold Geller, a civil litigator with Ottawa-based Doucet McBride LLP. “Regulators, government and to some extent professional organizations have failed to act,” he says. Lynne Butler, a lawyer and will and estate planner at Scotia Private Client Group, adds that one of the reasons POA abuse is rampant is because it’s happening in the shadows. “No one is watching or supervising the POA’s actions.” She says lawyers who specialize in this area have begun beefing up their documents to provide more protection for the clients. “Our current system of powers of attorney is based on an honour system, which really only works for the people who are honourable. Unfortunately, there are too many people who are not.”------The folks at Alberta Justice aren't old or defenceless and they seem to think seniors can hop it to the nearest legal beagle without any cash and sometimes in dire straits with family deeming them incompetent--to go save their money. How ridiculous is this? So Ruth Adria brought the fastest growing abuse of seniors to the attention of Alberta Justice, proposed some changes and was shot down. She wrote this letter to ask them -well then if they don't want a registry because it costs too much (government speak for they don't want to administer a nightmare scenario involving feuding citizens)--what then is the solution to the financial abuse of seniors? Here is Ruth's letter. I will keep you all posted on any further meetings and updates of the Elder Advocates Working Group with the Justice folks, in between updates to the Good Samaritan Extended Care Lawsuit against this mummy. “Rise in the presence of the aged, and honour the face of the old man. . ." -Leviticus 19:32 Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society (1992) HAND DELIVERED March 23, 201 The Honourable Ms. Kathleen Ganley Minister of Justice and Solicitor General # 424, Alberta Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB. Dear Ms. Minister: REFERENCE- The Powers of Attorney Act RSA 2000, cp-20 (POA) Thank you, your Chief of Staff, Andrew Tarver and Clara Cerminara, Legislative Specialist, Alberta Justice, for meeting with members of our Working Group this afternoon. We articulated for you the result of the abuse which the Powers of Attorney Act may cause. We receive complaints from across the province which document that this legislation fails to protect vulnerable seniors but rather allows harm, facilitates theft, we allege this legislation to be a license to steal. We presented to you, the creation of a Government Registry as a solution to provide oversight for all Powers of Attorney contracts. You indicated that this solution was too costly. Since this is a problem that will only get worse, it is incumbent on government to provide oversight and penalty for the abuse of the Powers of Attorney. Despite the fact that they are currently private contracts, this should not prevent the Government of Alberta from providing a remedy. What remedy does your government consider? . . . . / 2 Seniors need protection. If our solution of a Registry with transparency is not appropriate please indicate the solution that your department feels is more appropriate. We look forward to further discussions with your office regarding this prevalent problem. With the coming Tsunami of wealth transfer from one generation to the baby boomer generation, this problem of preying on seniors / financial abuse will only worsen. Please allow us to be in receipt of your response by the 5th of April, 2017. Thank you. Respectfully submitted. Yours truly, Ruth Maria Adria RN (ret.) Elder Advocates of Alberta Society (1992) Box # 76138, Edmonton, AB T6H 5Y1 Ph / Fax (780) 438 8314 elderadv@shaw.ca www.elderadvocates.ca c.c. Mr. Philip Bryden, Deputy Minister, Office of the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

#POAabuse #FollowingRuthAdria--It is important to keep both the GOA and the people of Alberta informed of problems faced by seniors. For the most part government ignores seniors because they aren't effectively organized and don't know how to use social media. This is a big problem for the seniors because their voices aren't heard. In addition, some of them may lack cash or have been deprived of their cash by POA abuse.
Ruth Adria presented the problem of POA abuse to the Alberta Justice folks who don't think her solution to the problem -of a registry is the right one. So if a registry is not the answer to this increasing problem of elder abuse-what is? Ruth Adria wrote a letter to Alberta Justice asking them if they don't want to do the registry-what then is their solution to this problem that will only be increasing as the baby boomer generation gets their hands on the greatest amount of cash ever seen.
The letter asks for remedy as well as further meetings to find responsive paths to walk along, hand in hand--government employees and citizen bosses to the end result of happy camper seniors and control over theft of their estates.
I'm sure Alberta Justice employees will be happy to help Ruth as they too will some day be ancient and would not want to be easy prey in this POA abuse racket.
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Besides educating the public about elder abuse part of the mandate of the Elder Advocates Working Group is to educate the government about problems faced by seniors.
Many of the folks in government are young and think old age is far away. Many of the folks we have hired to government do not know of elder abuse problems and think that a lawyer will solve their problems.
A lawyer is always useful but since many seniors are lacking in funds or in the case of the POA abuse aren't able to access their own money--the lawyer may be difficult to hire.
As well some of these seniors are deemed very ill or incompetent by their own family as in the story below so how does the government suggest they get out of these traps to the lawyer?
In any case, as my own story has illustrated to you all being in a lawsuit requires intelligence, hard work and the sort of effort that I once expended in graduate school but now have to expend on the perusal of medical files, PPIC abuse reports, PPIC investigation papers,a CCHSS audit,fatality reports, and such like. It's also clear to me that a senior--no matter how spry or lively would find this deluge of paperwork hard to keep up with because energy is rather low at the last stage of life. In a nursing home it is hard to get any help much less help for a lawsuit.

And so what is the solution?

1) Educate government folks who are young, don't feel the problems of seniors are that dire, and don't want to do more work than necessary to solve the problems of folks about to croak.
2) Educate the public so that they see that the seniors are very vulnerable in these situations and are willing to talk to their MLAs about these issues.
3) Keep the media informed.
4) Become the media through Facebook and Twitter and yapping in public presentations. The Elder Advocates of Alberta give public presentations to the public to talk about issues of abuse and financial abuse will be one of the topics we will likely present to the public.
5) Meet with the stakeholders --the seniors who have been ripped off and any seniors who need to have their concerns heard. As I am in the middle of a lawsuit, Ruth Adria is always doing this sort of work while other members of our group have to deal with the public presentations and formation of coalitions with other groups such as Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare.  You have to join up with other activists as well and I do this every day on social media.
6) Write letters. I also make comments on articles that are significant. I send the blog posts to the government at all levels. All of this work is part of the Elder Advocates Working Group work but also my duty as a good citizen.
7) Understand that all political parties are the same. It's no good just hoping one party will do the work you want done. It's important to talk to all political parties about senior issues because without our information no one will bother about seniors.
8) Media attention--generate media attention. Government considers media attention to be "emerging issues" even if these issues have been centuries old. In other words, government pays attention to the media and not to activists.
Be willing to get media attention. If you don't have the background find someone who does media and learn from them. I am learning from younger boy so I can make video footage for the Elder Advocates and put on the blog.
9) Make a blog. Make it about other human beings. Help every one. But focus on your main activity. Right now my main activity is the continuing care system in Alberta but I do this as part of the work I do for the Elder Advocates of Alberta
10) Be tough and keep the lines of communication open with government. We are not the enemy. We are the people of Alberta. We are the employers. Our voices count. And if our voices do not count, at least our votes do.


Here is Ruth's letter to the folks at Alberta Justice. Her words count folks.  She is a saint.




Julie Ali feeling happy.
Just now
So Ruth Adria has delivered our letter to the Justice Minister. The Elder Advocates Working Group as you all know is basically a group of citizens who work for free and spend their time trying to help folks who have no one.
Ruth is a saint. She has been doing this work for decades. The PCs were good to her and the NDP folks have ignored her for the most part.
But Ruth never gives up. Despite the cold shoulder by the seniors minister who doesn't want to be bothered by seniors, she has yapped to the Justice Minister.
When she presented the problems of seniors being ripped off by known abusers to the Justice Minister there was consideration of the problem. But when she presented the solution of a registry for increased oversight, accountability and transparency the idea was shot down.
So if the Alberta Justice folks don't want to do the registry what sort of remedy do they have?
They want seniors to sue their children without having any access to the money to sue them with.
Now I don't know about you but this seems a bit difficult to do.
I mean I am being sued by the Good Samaritan Society and I can't imagine how a poor elderly person would do this sort of stuff. It's an educational experience for me but I imagine for a senior trying to find a lawyer, trying to pay for a lawyer out of vanished funds and then going to court would be a major undertaking.
A registry would provide some structure to the loosey goosy POA contracts with the requirement to register the agreement, provide details of the transactions and maybe even a requirement for the the senior to have legal counsel to review these financial transactions. Such a set up seems more transparent and controlled than leaving things in the hands of family who may not be as reliable as one would wish when major cash is involved. I have heard for example of some kids buying property and going on holidays even before dad was dead.
Here is an article from Macleans which indicates how easy it is to do this POA theft business because when you trust your kids, they have you in the palm of their hands.
http://www.macleans.ca/…/business/stealing-from-mom-and-dad/
Stealing from mom and dad
Why power-of-attorney abuse against seniors is soaring—and so easy to get away with
Risha Gotlieb
July 14, 2011
Léony de Graaf, a Burlington, Ont.-based financial adviser, witnessed first hand how lives can be ruined by the unscrupulous use of power of attorney. She received a call from an 82-year-old client who had been forcefully incarcerated in a Hamilton psychiatric ward. “Rose was still capable of handling her affairs, including her own banking,” says de Graaf. “I had a very strong suspicion that her son, who had a power of attorney [POA] for his mother, was trying to have her deemed incompetent so he could take full control of her assets.” She suspected Rose’s son misled the psychiatrist whom he himself had arranged to evaluate his mother, whose family doctor had recently retired.
De Graaf fought to have Rose (not her client’s real name) released from the facility, advocating for her capacities and a reassessment. The medical team relented and allowed Rose to move into a retirement residence. Unfortunately, even after Rose’s release, de Graaf was powerless to stop the son from redirecting his mother’s investment statements to himself, putting her house up for sale, and eventually moving her west, where he lived. “One of the fastest growing crimes against seniors is POA abuse,” says De Graaf, who chairs the local chapter of a group called Seniors and Law Enforcement Together chapter.
****
The article explains how the POA abuse is a license to steal with no penalties really when you are abusing a frail and defenceless senior.
The folks at Alberta Justice aren't old or defenceless and they seem to think seniors can hop it to the nearest legal beagle without any cash and sometimes in dire straits with family deeming them incompetent--to go save their money.
How ridiculous is this?
So Ruth Adria brought the fastest growing abuse of seniors to the attention of Alberta Justice, proposed some changes and was shot down.
She wrote this letter to ask them -well then if they don't want a registry because it costs too much (government speak for they don't want to administer a nightmare scenario involving feuding citizens)--what then is the solution to the financial abuse of seniors?
Here is Ruth's letter. I will keep you all posted on any further meetings and updates of the Elder Advocates Working Group with the Justice folks, in between updates to the Good Samaritan Extended Care Lawsuit against this mummy.
“Rise in the presence of the aged, and honour the face of the old man. . ."
-Leviticus 19:32
Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society (1992)
HAND DELIVERED
March 23, 201
The Honourable Ms. Kathleen Ganley
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
# 424, Alberta Legislature Building,
Edmonton, AB.
Dear Ms. Minister:
REFERENCE- The Powers of Attorney Act RSA 2000, cp-20 (POA)
Thank you, your Chief of Staff, Andrew Tarver and Clara Cerminara, Legislative Specialist, Alberta Justice, for meeting with members of our Working Group this afternoon.
We articulated for you the result of the abuse which the Powers of Attorney Act may cause. We receive complaints from across the province which document that this legislation fails to protect vulnerable seniors but rather allows harm, facilitates theft, we allege this legislation to be a license to steal.
We presented to you, the creation of a Government Registry as a solution to provide oversight for all Powers of Attorney contracts. You indicated that this solution was too costly.
Since this is a problem that will only get worse, it is incumbent on government to provide oversight and penalty for the abuse of the Powers of Attorney. Despite the fact that they are currently private contracts, this should not prevent the Government of Alberta from providing a remedy.
What remedy does your government consider?
. . . . / 2
Seniors need protection. If our solution of a Registry with transparency is not appropriate please indicate the solution that your department feels is more appropriate.
We look forward to further discussions with your office regarding this prevalent problem. With the coming Tsunami of wealth transfer from one generation to the baby boomer generation, this problem of preying on seniors / financial abuse will only worsen.
Please allow us to be in receipt of your response by the 5th of April, 2017.
Thank you.
Respectfully submitted.
Yours truly,
Ruth Maria Adria RN (ret.)
Elder Advocates of Alberta Society (1992)
Box # 76138, Edmonton, AB T6H 5Y1
Ph / Fax (780) 438 8314
elderadv@shaw.ca www.elderadvocates.ca
c.c. Mr. Philip Bryden, Deputy Minister, Office of the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
)

Why power-of-attorney abuse against seniors is soaring—and so easy to get away with
MACLEANS.CA|BY MACLEAN'S

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http://www.macleans.ca/economy/business/stealing-from-mom-and-dad/



Stealing from mom and dad

Why power-of-attorney abuse against seniors is soaring—and so easy to get away with

Risha Gotlieb
July 14, 2011
Stealing from mom and dad
Joost van den Broek/Hollandse Hoogte/Redux
Léony de Graaf, a Burlington, Ont.-based financial adviser, witnessed first hand how lives can be ruined by the unscrupulous use of power of attorney. She received a call from an 82-year-old client who had been forcefully incarcerated in a Hamilton psychiatric ward. “Rose was still capable of handling her affairs, including her own banking,” says de Graaf. “I had a very strong suspicion that her son, who had a power of attorney [POA] for his mother, was trying to have her deemed incompetent so he could take full control of her assets.” She suspected Rose’s son misled the psychiatrist whom he himself had arranged to evaluate his mother, whose family doctor had recently retired.
De Graaf fought to have Rose (not her client’s real name) released from the facility, advocating for her capacities and a reassessment. The medical team relented and allowed Rose to move into a retirement residence. Unfortunately, even after Rose’s release, de Graaf was powerless to stop the son from redirecting his mother’s investment statements to himself, putting her house up for sale, and eventually moving her west, where he lived. “One of the fastest growing crimes against seniors is POA abuse,” says De Graaf, who chairs the local chapter of a group called Seniors and Law Enforcement Together chapter.
Having a senior declared incompetent is a commonly used legal manoeuvre by POA abusers to nullify the senior’s ability to make choices for themselves, including revoking the POA, says Ann Soden, a Montreal lawyer who specializes in elder law and heads the National Institute of Law, Policy and Aging. Sadly, perpetrators of many types of abuse against seniors are often their own children and others they trust. According to the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, the most conservative statistics suggest one in 12 older Canadians are abused or neglected, with the most commonly reported type of abuse being financial.
With the epic shift of Canada’s aging demographics, POA documents will be used increasingly to appoint trusted family members or others to handle financial decision-making in the event of medical or cognitive impairment. Today, approximately 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia—within a generation this number will more than double to 1.1 million.
Financial abuse by POA can run the gamut from small amounts of money being pilfered from chequing accounts to making off with entire multi-million-dollar estates. Indeed, most standard POA documents grant such absolute power that abusers are often able to rebuff criminal investigation and prosecution by simply telling authorities they were doing what they thought was best or that they didn’t realize they were improperly managing the money.
Many experts are now sounding warnings of an impending flood of POA abuses. “This is a community issue that is going to have massive economic repercussions,” says Harold Geller, a civil litigator with Ottawa-based Doucet McBride LLP. “Regulators, government and to some extent professional organizations have failed to act,” he says. Lynne Butler, a lawyer and will and estate planner at Scotia Private Client Group, adds that one of the reasons POA abuse is rampant is because it’s happening in the shadows. “No one is watching or supervising the POA’s actions.” She says lawyers who specialize in this area have begun beefing up their documents to provide more protection for the clients. “Our current system of powers of attorney is based on an honour system, which really only works for the people who are honourable. Unfortunately, there are too many people who are not.”
There is currently no meaningful oversight over POAs’ actions (especially when that POA is an adult child) and setting up a system would likely cost billions and take years, say experts. But a solution may already exist within the ranks of Canada’s accountants, lawyers, doctors and financial advisers, with the latter possibly being the keystone in a system of checks and balances. Rhonda Latreille, founder and CEO of Age-Friendly Business (which offers courses for Canada’s professionals on a multitude of issues related to aging) says professionals could do so much more to curtail financial abuse if only they had the relevant information and tools and were emboldened to do the right thing.
Experts suggest a few simple ways seniors can protect themselves. They can, for instance, include a clause in a POA document stipulating that a POA is to continue using the same financial adviser (as long as they’re willing and in good professional standing). If the named adviser is unwilling or unable to continue in this role, then a predetermined individual (not the current POA) such as the senior’s accountant or lawyer could be given the mandate to choose an alternative adviser. Furthermore, the financial adviser would still need the POA’s approval for any proposed portfolio transactions.
Butler says she’s already utilizing such a clause. “My clients love the idea because it gives them a sense of control and a real-world check and balance against a self-serving POA,” she says. The financial adviser De Graaf thinks POAs “might think twice” knowing professionals are watching them. She’d like to see seniors extend this clause to include their family doctor or a capacity assessor of their choice to determine their mental incapacity. And as Rose’s case highlights, the adult child should not be the one to order the assessment. (One negative assessment of incapacity could give the adult child or POA full control over everything, including whether or not to consent to future assessments.)
Alan Atkins, president of NetWealth Consulting Inc. in Barrie, Ont., argues if such a clause were included in more POA documents, it could be a game changer. Currently, if advisers don’t follow a POA’s instructions they risk being sued; if they follow instructions and there are losses to the estate because of the actions of a rogue POA they risk being sued by other beneficiaries of the estate claiming the financial adviser did not live up to their fiduciary duty.
Consumers could also empower their professional advisers, including their accountant, lawyer and bank manager, by declaring in writing that they are free to communicate with one another, thus nullifying privacy legislation that can be exploited to muzzle professionals from sharing their suspicions of POA abuse. As Dan McCormick, a certified financial planner with Investors Group, points out, when a team of two or more professionals and institutions all get different red flags, collectively they could share the warning signs with each other and then confront the abuse.


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