Attorney-at-Law, also known as attorney-at-will, is a specialized title for a professional practicing law in various jurisdictions, such as South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United States of America. In Canada, it's often referred to as vocal, which is an English word. The name is derived from the legal terminology used by lawyers in the ancient days of South Africa.
An attorney-at-will means that the individual who possesses the title is free to do as he or she pleases with the asset. The owner has full legal rights to do as he or she pleases to the asset. This right extends to any use of that asset, including selling, borrowing, renting, trading, or giving it away. In simple terms, the person who possesses the title is allowed to do as he or she pleases with the asset.
Since attorney-at-will is not a right, a person who owns such a property must give notice of the will in court. Such a notice must be given to the creditor as well as other creditors and the court. If the creditor objects, a judge must hear the case. In most cases, the judge would issue an order granting the creditor the right to take legal action against the owner of the property.
In addition to its legal rights, an owner can withdraw the right to exercise legal rights by signing an agreement. Such an agreement must be signed by the creditor. The contract should state clearly what the owner's legal rights are with respect to the asset and why the debtor is unable to exercise those rights in the event of his or her death or incapacity to act.
In some jurisdictions, the term “attorney-at-will” is also used to refer to the law of intestacy, which grants the beneficiary the right to take legal actions against the decedent, even if he or she is incapacitated. Most states, however, have no provision for intestacy. Even though some states, such as Illinois, have intestacy laws, the statute does not apply to property owned by a trust. Even in this situation, the person or group designated as the beneficiary must have a power of attorney to make financial decisions.
Attorney-at-will is a highly specialized area of law, which requires a lot of specialized training and education. Attorneys in this field should hold at least three years of post-graduate law degrees. They should have taken courses on contract law, business law, family law, and probate law.