Many ethical issues arise when lawyers represent elderly clients. Foremost among these issues is determining whether a client has the capacity to make valid decisions – and if not, then what? There are many conflict of interest issues, including whether direction is taken from the elderly person or another person (often an adult child) who is paying for the representation. There are also issues involving the exercise of undue influence by a caregiver or other person, including the validity of gifts to that person. Issues of preserving confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege when meetings are held in the presence of children or caregivers are also very important. This program will provide you with a practical guide to the most important ethical issues when lawyers represent elderly clients.
· Determining whether your elderly client has capacity – and identifying your client
· Practical alternatives if you determine a client doesn’t have capacity
· Conflicts of interest between the elderly client and the person paying for the representation, including the validity of gifts
· Preserving confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege when a caregiver or third party is in client meetings
· Clients who lose capacity during a continuing representation
· Ethical issues involved with undue influence over the elderly – what should you do?
· Elder abuse issues – how to spot it and what to do if you discover it
William Freivogel, Freivogel Ethics Consulting – Chicago