Gluckstein Lawyers creates resource guide to assist guardians

Recently launched guide is available free to all lawyers, their clients, and the public

Gluckstein Lawyers creates resource guide to assist guardians

This article was produced in partnership with Gluckstein Lawyers

After identifying a significant information gap for cases involving guardians, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers took action. Committed to full-circle client care, the firm created a Post-Settlement Resource Guide to help guardians: people who manage funds on behalf of someone who does not have the capacity to do so on their own or is a minor.

“We have always said we are a client-centered firm who care for their clients both during and after their litigation. This project was us putting our knowledge, time and energy behind that statement,” says Jan Marin, senior associate at Gluckstein and one of the main contributors to the project. 

“This guide is available on our website. It is available to the public, not just our lawyers and clients. It’s intended to assist all guardians as they enter the post resolution phase and allows them to put in place the supports and resources necessary to make it an easier transition.”

The origin of the Post-Settlement Resource Guide

The firm’s client liaison and marketing director, Brenda Agnew is a former client and current guardian of property for her son Maclain. Brenda’s experience as a guardian brought some of the challenges with that role to light for the Gluckstein team.  Law Clerks at the firm who have worked for several major firms across the province and maintained relationships with former clients, also saw the challenges guardians face.   

“The process after settlement is complex, there’s no way to be fully prepared for it” Agnew says. “The post-settlement piece was harder than the litigation. During the lawsuit you have a team of experts guiding you at every single step; upon settlement, you’re on your own. I knew how to be Maclain’s mom, but I had no idea how to be his guardian.”

After hearing about the “on the ground” challenges faced by guardians, the firm wanted to make guardians have the tools and resources to support them throughout the post-settlement process.

“We decided to create something to educate clients about life after resolution. We want our clients to be informed  while the guardianship documents and management plan are being prepared, so they can meaningful contribute to this part of the process and to ensure that they are provided with the best advice and tools, which will make the transition to guardian as smooth as possible. ” Marin says. “Even with an expertly drafted management plan, guardians have a responsibility to account for every dollar. They may also face challenges such as increasing medical costs or changing medical needs. In order to deal with these situations, they need to know what is expected of them and what resources are available to assist them.” 

Not using funds in accordance with the management plan or not properly maintaining records can have long-term consequences for the guardian. Knowing in advance what is expected for the passing of accounts makes the process much less painful, Marin notes. The Post-Settlement Resource Guide addresses everything from consultation with estate lawyers, the benefits of guardianship bookkeepers, the role of the Public Guardian and Trustee/Children’s Lawyer, to how management plans are created.

A commitment to clients, Gluckstein Lawyers, and the legal community

As legal advocates and representatives with a reputation for treating clients as family, Gluckstein sees offering this tool as critical — and not just for their own clients, but for other lawyers, their clients, and the legal community as a whole. Not every personal injury firm deals with cases involving guardians on a regular basis, and firms with less experience in this process will likely benefit from a tool that educates them — and their clients — about next steps.

For Gluckstein, the guide exemplifies how they approach their client and truly highlights the meaning of full-circle care.

“These are often significant cases involving ongoing needs,” Marin says. “There needed to be more information sharing and education for clients on what comes next — and that’s what we’ve provided with the Post-Settlement Resource Guide.”

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