BCLI Releases Updated Guide on Undue Influence
January 11, 2023
BY Greg Blue
The BC Law Institute (BCLI) has issued an updated and revised version of its widely used and frequently cited Guide on recommended practices for dealing with potential undue influence surrounding wills and other personal planning documents. The new version, entitled Undue Influence Recognition and Prevention: A Guide for Legal Practitioners, is intended for the era of remote signing and witnessing of wills, powers of attorney, and representation agreements by means of audiovisual technology, and increased use of videoconferencing generally by lawyers and notaries.
In addition to an updated summary of the law of undue influence, the updated Guide features:
- expanded coverage of non-testamentary undue influence surrounding gifts and other transfers of property, powers of attorney, representation agreements, etc. (as reflected in the title, which no longer refers to wills exclusively);
- new content on good practice and safeguards in video communication with clients, including older clients with little or no skill with computers;
- new content on cross-cultural communication with Indigenous clients and those from minority and migrant communities;
- new content on nonverbal communication cues that may take on greater significance in virtual meetings, with appropriate cautions about interpreting nonverbal behaviour;
- expanded information on cognitive impairment, dementia, and the relationship between these conditions and susceptibility to undue influence.
The new Guide contains a revised version of the Reference Aid consisting of a checklist that can be used in conducting client interviews and a flowchart. As before, the Reference Aid is also available as a separate publication. The updated Guide and Reference Aid may be downloaded free of charge from the BCLI website at Undue Influence Recognition / Prevention Guide Update Project – British Columbia Law Institute ([email protected]).