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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

California Dreaming - the right to visit an elderly parent

One of the issues that is raised again and again on this blog is the lack of communication between family members and those placed in various important roles. Often it's the role of executor that is at the centre of the dispute, but it could also be friction involving someone acting under a Power of Attorney, a trusteeship, or an adult guardianship.

How many times have angry, heartbroken siblings or children told me that they've been ignored or dismissed without any information about an estate, or even worse, an aging parent? How terrible it must feel to be barred from seeing an elderly, ill parent for the last few months of that parent's life.

The fact that the family members are turning to lawyers for help usually means that regular communication has broken down, people aren't willing to meet what others see as moral obligations, and generally nobody is cooperating with anybody. Now they are relying on the law to force other people to do what they feel is right. What a nightmare!

Would more laws help us? What if the laws were more specific, such as requiring someone (a spouse or guardian) to advise family members if a parent is admitted to the hospital?

Recently I read a very good blog post on this very issue. Click here to read it. It was written by Justin de Vries, who blogs at www.allaboutestates.ca. The article compares new, specific laws recently put into place in California with the Ontario Substitute Decisions Act. I found it very thought-provoking and I hope you will too.

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