A Continuing Power of Attorney (POA) under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 is an indispensable tool in estate planning. Sadly, and all too frequently, unscrupulous and dishonest attorneys abuse the powers granted to them and treat it as a license to steal. It is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada.
Last Will and Embezzlement, a feature length documentary, is about the rising problem of the financial exploitation of the elderly and vulnerable. With the largest transfer of wealth to occur in the next 10-20 years, and the aging population, the film addresses the serious growing problem of elder abuse and financial crimes. On October 19, 2013, the filmmakers announced that the film is to be broadcast across the US on platforms including iTunes, Verizon, amazon and Google Play.
If someone suspects an Attorney for property is abusing the granted legal authority to commit a financial crime, there are options available to protect the vulnerable person. Theft, fraud and forgery conducted under the guise of a POA can be reported to the police and prosecuted under the Criminal Code. In addition, in Ontario, the Public Guardian and Trustee can be contacted to protect an incapable person being victimized by financial abuse.
It is important if you suspect elder abuse to contact the appropriate authorities, or contact a lawyer to help protect the vulnerable.