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Crane v Metzger: Incapacity and a Disputed Power of Attorney

The recent case of Crane v Metzger 2018 ONSC 5382, involved a POA dispute between the incapable person’s daughter and brother. The daughter sought to have her uncle removed as her mother’s attorney under a POA for property and to be appointed as her mother’s sole permanent guardian of property and of the person. The mother was 84 years old with vascular dementia. Both parties agreed, after capacity assessments were conducted, that the mother was incapable of making decisions with respect to both her property and her personal care. Her assets were valued at $700,000.00 and she was living in a long-term care home.

The daughter advanced a lengthy list of grievances against her uncle, including that the uncle was mishandling her mother’s finances, care, and was not acting in her mother’s best interests. The daughter also asserted that the mother’s current long-term care home was “substandard” and did not suit her advanced needs.

The uncle alleged that the daughter had behaved recklessly in her mother’s care, viewed her mother’s assets as her own, and that he was a prudent manager of his sister’s property and personal care. Further, the uncle advised the Court of one particular incident when the daughter lied to him and took her mother to Seattle when the daughter told him she was taking her to Wasaga Beach. The mother did not have proper travel medical insurance at the time. The daughter had also secured a passport for her mother under false pretenses.

The Court also found that, based on the evidentiary record, the daughter had taken her mother to the bank to withdraw funds from her account while knowing that she was incapable of doing so. When the withdrawals were brought to the attention of the bank, “the bank agreed that they were at fault for allowing the withdrawal by [the daughter] and [the mother]”.[1] More than $10,000.00 was returned to the account by the bank. The Court concluded that the daughter “cannot be trusted to deal with the financial welfare of [her mother]”.[2]

With respect to the uncle’s actions, the Court found that “the record discloses that [the uncle] is doing the best he can in the circumstances” and that the daughter “failed to provide strong and compelling evidence of misconduct or neglect on the part of the attorney or that the best interests of [her mother] required the removal of [the uncle] as her attorney.”[3] The motion was dismissed.

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[1] Crane v Metzger 2018 ONSC 5382 at para 36.

[2] Crane v Metzger 2018 ONSC 5382 at para 37.

[3] Crane v Metzger 2018 ONSC 5382 at para 44.

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