The Notaries of Europe launch today a new information website: Vulnerable Adults in Europe (www.vulnerable-adults-europe.eu). This website has been created with support from the European Commission. Available in three languages (English, French and German), it provides factsheets on protective measures for vulnerable adults in the countries that have the civil law notarial system, i.e. 22 European countries.
In line with the Successions Europe and Couples in Europe websites, this new tool is precious for citizens wishing to find out more about the self-determination instruments available to them (lasting powers of attorney, advance decisions on medical treatment, etc.) and organise their legal protection. By answering the following questions, the website enables citizens to find the information they require quickly and easily.
- Does the law in your country provide for lasting powers of attorney, advance decisions on medical treatment or the possibility to request that a trust person be named as guardian in the future?
- Which authority has international, territorial and material jurisdiction to appoint legal guardians?
- Is it usual practice to appoint several guardians, to deal with different matters (custody rights, administration of assets, etc.)?
- To what formal and material restrictions are legal guardians subject? Must they be officially approved? Must they have authorisation from a court or authority to carry out certain legal acts?
- Under the conflict-of-law rules in force, what substantive law is applicable to lasting powers of attorney, advance decisions to refuse treatment and requests made with regard to the guardian and/or circumstances of a guardianship?
Protecting the vulnerable, and adults in particular, has become a real challenge for society. Increasingly, people in need of protection are liable to travel, be cared for or hospitalised in a Member State other than that of their habitual residence. Their assets can also be spread across several Member States. This tendency affects the elderly, but also victims of accident or illness, the disabled, etc.
Mr André Michielsens, President of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union declared, “Many Member States have specific legislation to ensure their systems of protection are adapted to individuals and their assets. This legislation is often very different and it can be difficult to find your way around. This is why the Vulnerable Adults in Europe website is a precious tool for people seeking legal certainty.”