May 21, 2015 - 10:56 AM
PENTICTON - A Penticton lawyer recently found himself subject of a disciplinary hearing by the Law Society of British Columbia.
Charles Louis Albas—father of Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas—was cited for preparing a will for a client, naming himself as a beneficiary, and in another instance prepared a will naming his wife as beneficiary.
The incidents took place in early 2009 and mid 2013 when a client Albas had dealt with on previous occasions, asked him to prepare her will, leaving him one half of the estate. The will was prepared on that basis, executed by the client and witnessed by Albas’ legal assistant.
In 2013, Albas noticed the new Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia prevented a lawyer from preparing a will in which he was to receive a gift. Albas contacted his client and told her she would need to write a new will with a new lawyer.
The client stated if the gift created a problem, she would leave that portion of the estate to Albas’ wife.
Albas then asked another lawyer to prepare a replacement will, naming Albas’ wife as beneficiary. The new will was taken to Albas’ client, but the will was never signed. The client was subsequently committed under the Mental Health Act later in 2013, but was released after Albas wrote a letter on her behalf to the hospital.
The client then retained a new lawyer who wrote Albas, demanding he cease further contact.
Albas admitted to professional misconduct to the hearing panel, which concluded even though Albas’ client wished to benefit him, his obligation as a lawyer was to ensure he obtained legal advice if she wished to proceed with a gift.
Albas was fined $7,000 plus hearing costs in the amount of $1,736.25.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015