Hmmm…why wasn’t she allowed to stay in her home with live-in help? Sounds like she had the ability to pay for that, and repairs, too! Lots of history there and it’s all she knew.
Rule 1.14 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct1 addresses this situation. Rule 1.14 provides in pertinent part as follows:
Client With Diminished Capacity
(a) When a client’s capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with a representation is diminished, whether because of minority, mental impairment or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with the client.
(b) When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has diminished capacity, is at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken and cannot adequately act in the client’s own interest, the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian.
Under Rule 1.14, it’s clear that a lawyer’s duty to his client doesn’t end if and when the client’s capacity is diminished. The overriding themes of Rule 1.14 are that the lawyer should strive to maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship but take reasonably necessary protective action when the circumstances described in paragraph (b) are present.