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Elder Law Ethics: Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity

Recorded: September 12, 2018
Duration: 69 minutes
By Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq., CELA, O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C.
Presented by: Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esquire, CELA, O’Donnell, Weiss, & Mattei, PC

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?

Watch Rebecca A. Hobbs, a Certified Elder Law Attorney and ElderCounsel member,discuss 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.


  • Cases involving financial abuse of older persons are steadily rising
  • The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is growing

Representing a Client with Diminished Capacity (Model Rule 1.14)

  • Client identification and Third-Party Presence in Meetings (Model Rule 1.2)
  • Determination of client’s capacity
  • Normal Client-Lawyer relationship (Model Rule 1.14(a))

Protective Actions and Minimizing your Client’s Vulnerability

  • Confidentiality of Information (Model Rule 1.6)
  • Reasonably necessary protective action (Model Rule 1.14(b))
  • Reporting financial abuse and exploitation

 CLE Ethics: 1 Hour

Pre-approved: AL, AR, CA, CO, FL, IL, MO, NH, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TX. Pending: GA, WI. Attorney will self apply in states not listed.

Many states have strict restrictions on pre-recorded (also called on-demand or distance learning) courses. Please review your State Bar’s rules and ElderCounsel’s CLE guide by state to determine if you are eligible to receive CLE for this course before viewing.

Receive CLE certificate of attendance: Please be prepared to write down an attendance code that will be announced during the presentation. A form will appear on the video screen near the end of the webinar. You will be required to enter the attendance code and submit the form to receive your CLE attendance certificate. After you’ve submitted the form, your certificate will be sent to your inbox.

Email [email protected] if you have any questions.

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