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Elder Law Ethics: Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity – Dec. 2021


Thursday, December 2, 2021, 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET

Presented by Rebecca A. Hobbs, CELA

CLE: 1 hour ethics

SKU: ELE-1221 Category:


When confronted with signs of dementia or other cognitive impairments in a new client, what are the proper steps that an attorney should take when forming a client-lawyer relationship? The Model Rules of Professional Conduct require attorneys to maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with a client with diminished capacity. However, a lawyer’s actions may be called into question if a transaction is later challenged and certain precautions were not taken by the lawyer.

A client with diminished capacity is more vulnerable to threats, fraud, undue influence, and manipulation. What protective actions can an attorney make to help minimize the risk that the client will be taken advantage of?

Join Rebecca A. Hobbs, a Certified Elder Law Attorney and ElderCounsel member, as she discusses ethical dilemmas that elder law attorneys face every day when representing clients with diminished capacity and learn about protective measures an attorney can take to help limit their client’s vulnerability.


 I. Introduction (1:00–1:15 p.m. ET)
       a. Cases involving financial abuse of older persons are steadily rising
       b. The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is growing

II. Representing a Client with Diminished Capacity (Model Rule 1.14) (1:15–1:45 p.m. ET)
       a. Client identification and Third-Party Presence in Meetings (Model Rule 1.2)
       b. Determination of client’s capacity
       c. Normal Client-Lawyer relationship (Model Rule 1.14(a))

III. Protective Actions and Minimizing your Client’s Vulnerability (1:45–2:00 p.m. ET)
       a. Confidentiality of Information (Model Rule 1.6)
       b. Reasonably necessary protective action (Model Rule 1.14(b))
       c. Reporting financial abuse and exploitation