Jim, not his real name, came to see me at my Ottawa office last week. His brother had suffered a heart attack the day before and would not be able to take care of his financial affairs for the foreseeable future. Jim was appointed as his brother’s Attorney for Property. He needed to start acting immediately.
Jim knew that his first job as Attorney for Property was to get a complete picture of his brother’s affairs. In doing so, Jim had run into a problem particular to our increasingly paperless society: passwords. Jim’s brother did all of his banking online. As he didn’t have the required passwords, Jim didn’t know what accounts his brother had and how much was in them.
Jim is not alone. More and more Attorneys for Property are running into this problem. As individuals go paperless with their personal affairs, this trend is likely to continue.
Before the days of electronic banking, an Attorney for Property could glean full information about assets from paper statements. With more and more people paying bills and doing their banking online, if an Attorney for Property does not have the necessary passwords, getting a complete picture of someone’s affairs is much more difficult.
The lesson to take from Jim’s situation is making sure you consider how your appointed Attorney for Property will be able to find the information they need in a timely fashion and with minimal hassle if all your records are online.
And speaking of paperless, on April 4, I will be sharing the ins and outs of going paperless at this year’s ABA TECHSHOW at the Hilton Chicago. Visit www.techshow.com for more information and registration details.
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Blog posts pre-dated December 1, 2015 were originally published under Neff Law Office Professional Corporation.