• Stephen Biss

Should DUI clients be encouraged to make wills?

Do criminal law lawyers who deal with clients who engage in very risky lifestyles have a professional obligation to recommend that they execute a will?

Dangerous driving, impaired driving, possession of explosives, and unsafe weapons storage are all criminal offences where the client is probably engaging in high risk activity. If the behaviour continues, death may be likely in a few years leaving spouse and family in a most unfortunate state of affairs. Perhaps lawyers who practise criminal law need to be more aware of the need to recommend wills, continuing powers of attorney for property, and powers of attorney for personal care.

Death isn't the only outcome for risky behaviour. Loss of mobility and livelihood due to severe injuries that happen during risky behaviour are also possible. I recall one client, a number of years ago, who suffered serious brain injury as a result of launching his vehicle "as high as the hydro wires" from a streetcar concrete barrier and then crashing the vehicle to the ground in flames. Hospital and toxicology documents showed a BAC at above 400 mg / 100 mls at the time of the crash.

These people needs wills and powers of attorney. We should offer to prepare such documents or make the appropriate referral.

Here is a web site that discusses the usual paragraphs in wills and explains the differences between a power of attorney for property and a power of attorney for personal care.

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