How to keep your mind when your clients are losing theirs
The International Family Offices Journal
Vol. 6 - Iss. 1 pp. 34–40
There seems to be a growing awareness in the family office world that in addition to future succession issues the family office would like help with caring for those who are ageing or displaying a diminished capacity. Karen Witherell has spent her legal career providing the documents to assist in this area. In "How to keep your mind when your clients are losing theirs", she gives a thorough explanation of the pros and cons of a multitude of legal documents. As she notes, this can be difficult to manage when different jurisdictions are involved. Even within the United States the forms and requirements can be different in different states. She advises that clients who spend significant time in more than one state should have attorneys in each of those states review the documents. Karen notes that the issues of diminished capabilities are especially difficult when there is a family office. "In a family office situation, the question of diminished capacity can be especially critical, and there could come a time when the capacity of a client becomes an issue that must be addressed. If the client can no longer act autonomously is there someone else designated to act for them?" Karen begins with a thorough comparison of the different legal meanings of capacity, then covers the wide variety of helpful documents, then stresses that planning ahead is the best approach. At the end of her article is a checklist of documents a family office should have in place.