When Doreen Koch moved to a 10-acre piece of property in Lumby when she was just a young girl, she never expected that she’d have to fight in court to keep it in her family, especially at the age of 92.
“What Doreen did in 2018 is normal, and in the course of what we advise people, especially elderly clients, to do which is make sure your will is up to date," said Jana Keeley, the Kelowna lawyer representing Koch.
"Make sure you have a valid power of attorney.”
Keeley explained Koch did exactly that, naming her only son Colin Jenkins in both her will and as power of attorney.
However, Koch didn’t anticipate her son’s hepatitis C diagnosis, and she didn’t authorize Jenkins to sell her property weeks before he died.
“He was close to death and the realtors were picking away at him and he had power of attorney,” Keeley said.
“There should be no reason to think that when someone says, 'I’m the power of attorney,' that that’s binding. It would be akin to somebody walking into the bank and saying, 'I’m the power of attorney' and the bank handing you over that person’s money,” Keeley said, adding she's going to have to prove that in court.
According to a lawsuit filed in March 2021 in Vancouver Supreme Court, Jenkins entered into a contract of purchase and sale to sell the land to Matthew Timothy Wilson for $475,000.
Wilson is listed in court documents as “a business person who resides in North Vancouver.”
Wilson’s lawyer is Nathan Rayan, who wrote the following in an email when asked to comment: “As the matter is currently before the courts, we are not able to make any further comment at this time.”
Koch isn’t sure how much time she has, and she’s been fighting the battle since she was 89. She’s not getting any younger and she’s running out of money.
“I don’t know how much more it’s going to take. I think we’ve already put in $100,000, and there goes your savings," Koch said.
"I might have to go back to work.”
Keeley plans to speed up the legal process as much as she can knowing every day in front of a judge will only add to her client’s stress and costs.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Doreen Koch with her legal costs.