Program Feature – Capacity and Influence

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Feb 232017

Capacity and Influence

Determining capacity issues at the outset of a relationship with a client is crucial for developing strategies for testamentary and inter vivos wealth transfers. Although this area of law is well understood, the delicate intricacies of undue influence provide a more difficult challenge.

Understanding how to screen for the different types of undue influence at the time documents are prepared and executed can greatly affect wealth transfer strategies later on.

Explore the law governing attacks based on suggestions of a lack of capacity and undue influence with this esteemed panel. Learn techniques for assessing and addressing specific scenarios.

Faculty and Discussion Topics

Join seminar chair John Poyser on March 1 (Edmonton) and March 8 (Calgary) for Capacity and Influence. Hone your skills and develop strategies for identifying and addressing issues related to capacity and undue influence.

Dr. Arlin Pachet | Pachet Assessment and Rehabilitation Services
Stan Rule | Sabey Rule LLP
Shelley E. Waite | McLeod Law LLP
Helen R. Ward | Duncan Craig LLP
Kimberly A. Whaley | WEL Partners

In a recent interview, we spoke to John Poyser about the program. Here’s what he had to say.

Transfers are frequently flawed for one of two reasons. The first reason would be that the person making the transfer does not have the necessary powers of mind to do so. Second, you have undue influence. The law generated a collection of legal tools to be used to challenge a transfer of wealth if there was pressure or improper conduct around the making of the transfer. That’s typically undue influence. At this seminar, we are going to take those various challenges to wealth transfer: capacity and undue influence in both such forms, inter vivos and testamentary.”

John also spoke about the diversity of the panel.

We have panelists from three different provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta. We also have a mixture of expertise; 4 of the panelists are lawyers, one is a psychologist. Psychologist Dr. Arlin Pachet will be able to provide some very down to earth, nuts and bolts commentary on the ability of a psychologist to render opinions and conduct assessments, which could assist the court, not only dealing with capacity but also dealing with testamentary and inter vivos undue influence. Stan Rule from Sabey Rule LLP will provide a suggested template or guideline of best practices to consult. I think that what he is going to provide will be revolutionary for a lot of lawyers here in Alberta who would otherwise be unaware and be re-inventing the wheel, which has been thoroughly developed already in B.C. Another one of the presenters is Kimberly Whaley from Toronto. She’s part of a boutique law firm in Toronto and practices exclusively in estate and gift litigation. She is in a position to write a very good paper and can comment from a wealth of dedicated experience of multiple years in a boutique shop on exactly the issue of inter vivos undue influence from a litigation perspective. She has a reputation across Canada and has been in demand from coast to coast for a decade.

Program Benefits and Takeaways

John also told us what he thinks attendees will find beneficial about the program.

I think attendees will come away with a more significant and better defined understanding of capacity principals. Litigators will come out with a far better understanding of how to attack and defend wealth transfers. Solicitors are going to be far better at putting these transactions together in a way that they can’t be challenged afterwards and will be in a better position to protect their clients.
Finally, john told us what he’s most excited about in the upcoming program.

Here’s what John had to say about the program takeaways that attendees will receive.

There is very little available in Alberta and across Canada by way of practice guides or practice directions to deal with equitable undue influence or inter vivos gifting. So, there are checklists of plenty to be found here in testamentary transfers. What’s largely missing, a huge gap in the law, are practice codes that deal with inter vivos transfers by living individuals. Kimberly is going to be in a position to talk about that from a litigation perspective.

Register Online

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from this incredibly diverse and experienced panel. Register today to attend Capacity and Influence on March 1 (Edmonton) or on March 8 (Calgary).

Lawyer Endorses Collaboration & Survey on ACP

 LESA Update, News  Comments Off on Lawyer Endorses Collaboration & Survey on ACP
May 182016

ACP CRIO wants your input on Advanced Care Planning.

Have you had the chance to complete the Advanced Care Planning (ACP) Survey? If not, are you interested in providing your feedback in regard to advising clients about ACP?

The Advanced Care Planning Collaborative Research & Innovation Opportunities Program (ACP CRIO) is an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions funded team of researchers and stakeholders working together to implement widespread uptake of a formalized ACP framework across our healthcare system.

ACP involves discussing and documenting an individual’s wishes, preferences, and values in regard to future medical care before one becomes incapable of giving consent to or denying health care.

Help this team of Alberta researchers; complete the Advanced Care Planning survey!

Read what Maureen L. Douglas, Senior Project Coordinator, Advance Care Planning CRIO Program has to say about ACP and the ACP survey. In addition, find out what wills and estates lawyer Shelley E. Waite says about the role of lawyers in ACP and the importance of collaboration in the ACP process.

Thank you to the many Alberta lawyers who have already completed this survey. We appreciate your feedback about factors that support or hinder lawyers in working with clients on Advance Care Planning (ACP), and the need for resources.

Over the last 2 years, the ACP CRIO research program has been collaborating with lawyers, physicians, patient advisors, Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch), Legal Education Society of Alberta, the Office of the Public Guardian and Public Trustee, Alberta Health Services, and other stakeholders to learn more about ACP in lawyers’ practices.

Why Participate

Shelley E. Waite, partner with McLeod Law – practicing in wills, estates, and succession planning – has been an active member of the group. She explains the role of lawyers and value of collaboration on ACP.

Shelley E. Waite, McLeod LLP

Working individually, neither doctors nor lawyers can provide as comprehensive a plan as when they work collaboratively. It is imperative for Albertans to consider the importance of ensuring that there is someone who has the legal authority to step into the role of decision maker. Our role as lawyers is to discuss the importance of completing their Advanced Care Plan through the completion of a Personal Directive. This is just one step in ensuring that a comprehensive Advanced Care Plan is complete. I advocate that my clients take their Personal Directive to their doctor and continue the conversation on their goals of care with their health care team. By working collaboratively doctor and lawyer can be part of the individual’s comprehensive and tailored Advance Care Plan.”

ACP Survey Details

Lawyers are uniquely positioned to assist clients with Advance Care Planning. A Saskatchewan survey found that nearly half of people who had a written care plan had sought help from a lawyer to prepare the document, while only five percent had consulted a doctor.i

The research group is asking Alberta lawyers in a wide variety of practice settings to complete the survey. (This survey will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes.)

Questions include:

  • What prompts a client’s desire to engage in Advance Care Planning?
  • What topics do your clients want to cover in their ACP?
  • What resources would help you help your clients?
  • Do you have concerns that an Advance Care Plan will not be used in practice?

The ACP survey closes on June 15, 2016.

Contact Information

For more information about ACP, the ACP survey, or the ACP CRIO Research Program, contact:

  • Maureen Douglas, Senior Study Coordinator, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta 780.248.5690 or
  • Nola Ries, Study Lead, Health Law Institute, University of Alberta

iGoodridge D, Quinlan E, Venne R, Hunter P, Surtees D. Planning for Serious Illness by the General Public: A Population-Based Survey. ISRN Family Medicine. 2013;483673. doi:10.5402/2013/483673.

If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, contact Andrea Maltais, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0555 or