Hello, I have a question regarding power of attorney and wills; Recently we had an older friend signed the power of attorney (both for personal care and property, selecting me and my husband as her designated attorneys) as well as her simple will in a lawyer’s office. The lawyer only gave her an unsigned copy of the will, and kept a signed copy for himself. When she inquired about the validity of the unsigned will, he said not to worry about it, that she doesn’t need it and that the unsigned copy in her possession is as good as a signed copy that he has. Also, he only gave her a copy of the powers of attorney, but not to us. When we asked for it, he was upset that we are asking for it and acted like we are really inconveniencing him by asking for a copy for our records. Our friend also signed another document, donating all her assets/land inheritance to her family overseas. Again, she did not receive a copy of that document. When she asked for the copy 2 days later, the lawyer said he already sent it overseas and does not feel like going to the safe to retrieve his copy to give it to her as well. She paid $ 3,000 as a ‘retainer’, for 4 documents consisting 4-5 pages each. The lawyer said he will send her another invoice, for additional costs. My questions are: Is a lawyer not obligated to give the client a signed copy of everything, for her records? Is the unsigned will also valid as the signed one? What is a typical fee for such documents (that seem to be a standard document and it is not too much work to type her personal info into a template) -what he charges seems to be excessive? Thank you, Sanja B.
Answer by Shira Kalfa
Not VerifiedOntario lawyer
Posted 6 months ago
Shira Kalfa is a founding partner of Kalfa Law, a business & tax law firm in Toronto. As the lead solicitor at Kalfa Law, Shiras' practice is focused on:
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