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As notaries, we realize our actions have consequences. We can't help but be nervous when a person comes into our office to sign a durable mandate, and the agent is a person who makes us wonder if they have the principal's best interest at heart, or perhaps just their own. That's creepy, and worrisome. Our legislators have received numerous complaints in this area by constituents who want protection for the aged and vulnerable who find themselves in this very situation. Voilla: Section 3851 of Title 9 of the Louisiana Revised Statues is new and provides as follows:

When a principal is a natural person for whom a curator with appropriate authority has not qualified, any of the following persons may petition a court on behalf of the principal to review the acts of the principal’s mandatary and to grant relief authorized by this Chapter:

(1) A person authorized to make healthcare decisions for the principal. (2) A spouse, a parent, or a descendant of the principal. (3) A presumptive heir or legatee of the principal. (4) A person named as a beneficiary to receive any real or personal right upon the death of the principal. (5) A trustee or beneficiary of an inter vivos or testamentary trust created by or for the principal. (6) A caregiver of the principal. (7) Any other person with sufficient interest in the welfare of the principal.

This legislation is particularly important when you consider that a principal cannot terminate a durable mandate on his own once he becomes mentally incapacitated. Although the list of persons who can bring this action to help an incapacitated principal is very expansive, it has been long in the waiting for many families and it will assuage many of the concerns of those who are negatively affected by an unscrupulous agent.

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