Disclaimer: The names in this case study have been changed due to privacy reasons. This case is based on real-life experience.
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Mary is a friend of John and executed her Power of Attorney in which she appoints John to be her Attorney and no one else.
John died in a car crash sometime in 2021, leaving Mary without an Attorney.
A general rule of law is that when a person loses decision-making capacity, they cannot enter any contract financial affairs, and assets are left at risk of being misapplied. All institutions aware of the incapacity will freeze assets and cease to accept their authority.
Mary is now in a nursing home and has dementia. Therefore, she no longer can make decisions, nor does she have an appointed Attorney to make decisions for her.
Mary no longer remembers who Lewis is due to her dementia.
Before John died, he made a Will where Mary acquires John’s car upon his death. Because Mary no longer can make decisions, and her one and only Attorney died, her next of kin must take orders from the Court to act as her Attorney to allow them to make decisions for Mary regarding the bequeathed car from John.
What should have been done to avoid this deadlock?
In this case, Mary could have appointed a substitute attorney who could have decided on her behalf since she no longer can make any decisions due to dementia.
Thus, these cases require individual attention and innovative legal solutions
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