Vancouver Elder Law Lawyers

The practice of elder law focuses on helping an aging population navigate their own unique needs and challenges while empowering senior citizens to make informed decisions about their families, finances, and care. Older individuals in British Columbia face a number of difficulties that can leave them vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, neglect, and discrimination.

Meridian Law Group takes prompt, assertive action to protect the rights of senior citizens, as protected by provincial and federal elder laws. The firm provides effective advocacy in a range of elder law matters, including those relating to estates and elder protection. The firm’s trusted litigators are passionate about assisting British Columbia’s elder community by supporting their independence and dignity in all areas of their lives.

Abuse & Negligence at Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and live-in caregivers owe a significant duty of care to the vulnerable older community members in their care. Unfortunately, one of the most prominent issues in elder law is that of caregiver abuse or neglect.

Elder abuse and neglect can take different forms and have a variety of causes, including:

  • Physical or emotional abuse;
  • Financial abuse (such as defrauding or stealing a resident’s money or unlawfully depriving them of access to their finances);
  • Unsafe premises or inadequate safety systems and procedures;
  • Insufficient resident supervision;
  • Inadequately trained staff;
  • Failing to provide proper medication, medical care, hygiene care, or nutrition.

Any form of abuse or neglect can cause lasting physical and psychological harm. Caregivers, nursing homes and long-term care facilities can be held financially liable for the damage caused and can also face serious reputational and career consequences. Serious incidents of abuse can lead to registration on vulnerable persons abuse registries and criminal proceedings.

Age Discrimination & Elder Bias

Age is a protected ground under the British Columbia Human Rights Code (the Code). As such, the Code protects anyone who is 19 years of age or older from discrimination on the basis of their age.

It is illegal for elders to face discrimination as a result of their age in any context, including:

  • When applying for rental housing;
  • When accessing public services, businesses, or facilities;
  • When applying for or receiving health care and medical treatment; or
  • In the workplace, including wrongful dismissal or forced retirement.

As the Human Rights Code prohibits age discrimination or elder bias, the discriminating party may be ordered to adjust their policies, practices, or service delivery to accommodate older individuals’ needs.

Illness & Disability Insurance Denials

As senior citizens face age-related illnesses, injuries, and degenerative conditions, they may need to avail themselves of the coverage offered by disability and critical illness insurance. Additionally, the loss of a loved one may require filing a life insurance policy claim.

Claims under these policies may be denied for a variety of reasons, including alleged misrepresentation by the claimant, evidentiary issues, or exclusion clauses. Being faced with a claim denial or dispute regarding compensation can be overwhelming and involve a complex web of legal issues and expert opinions. Protracted and contentious insurance claims proceedings can prevent senior citizens from accessing much-needed benefits and financial support after an injury, illness, or bereavement.

A knowledgeable insurance litigation lawyer can protect the insured elder’s rights while exploring all methods for swift resolution of their dispute, whether through negotiation, mediation, or courtroom litigation.

Capacity & Decision-Making Ability

Proactive estate planning for an elderly individual should include a power of attorney that specifies who will be responsible for handling the donor’s decision-making, care, and finances if the donor becomes mentally incapable of doing so themselves. In the absence of a valid power of attorney, a loved one or the Public Guardian and Trustee may be appointed as committee for the individual. A committee of the person makes decisions about the person’s daily care (including where they live) and medical treatment. In contrast, a committee of the estate makes decisions about the person’s financial and legal matters.

Attorneys under a power of attorney and committees are both required to act in the subject individual’s best interests, considering the person’s wishes, beliefs, and values. Whenever possible, the attorney or committee should make reasonable efforts to foster the elderly individual’s independence and include them in decision-making processes.

An attorney or committee who fails in their fiduciary duties and misuses their powers may be subject to removal by court order and can also be held liable for any damage or loss caused by their conduct.

Meridian Law Group: Providing British Columbia’s Elders With Trusted Advice & Representation

The elder law team at Meridian Law Group is passionate about advocating for senior citizens’ rights and enabling the elderly population to age with poise and independence. With over three decades of experience, the firm provides reliable, multi-faceted elder law solutions to older individuals throughout the province. The firm’s elder law lawyers minimize conflict and preserve family relationships whenever possible while ensuring its clients’ interests are always the primary focus.

Since 1988, Meridian Law Group has been an established institution in Vancouver’s legal community. The firm provides skilled advocacy and trustworthy advice to clients on estate litigation matters throughout British Columbia, Canada, and internationally. To schedule a consultation, please call (604) 687-2277 or reach out online.