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    Formal Ethics Opinion 96-404 (downloadable pdf)

    Formal Ethics Opinion 96-404 (downloadable pdf)

    Formal Ethics Opinion 96-404 (downloadable pdf)

    A lawyer who reasonably determines that his client has become incompetent to handle his own affairs may take protective action on behalf of the client, including petitioning for the appointment of a guardian.
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    Client Under a Disability Withdrawal is appropriate only if it can be accomplished without prejudice to the client. The protective action should be the least restrictive under the circumstances. The appointment of a guardian is a serious deprivation of the client's rights and ought not be undertaken if other, less drastic, solutions are available. With proper disclosure to the court of the lawyer's self-interest, the lawyer may recommend or support the appointment of a guardian who the lawyer reasonably believes would be a fit guardian, even if the lawyer anticipates that the recommended guardian will hire the lawyer to handle the legal matters of the guardianship estate. However, a lawyer with a disabled client should not attempt to represent a third party petitioning for a guardianship over the lawyer's client.

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