The By Lawyers Powers of Attorney Guides have been updated. Amendments address the issue of attorneys who require access to the principal’s will to enable them to make informed decisions.
Generally, attorneys are not entitled to access their principal’s will. However, in some cases it is important that the attorney reviews the principal’s will, to ensure the attorney acts in accordance with the best interests and the wishes of the principal.
For example, the attorney may need to sell one of the principal’s assets to fund medical care of the principal. By reviewing the principal’s will, the attorney can learn that a particular asset has been specifically bequeathed. The attorney may therefore decide not to sell the bequeathed asset and instead sell an asset that will form part of the residue of the principal’s estate.
The following changes have been made to the Powers of Attorney publications in each state:
- New sections of Commentary discussing the issue;
- A new question in the Retainer Instructions to prompt consideration of the issue; and
- A new precedent clause Access to will has been added in the Library of Clauses for Power of Attorney.