Wills & Estates
I have a particular passion around helping people with Estate Planning and having up-to-date Wills. From personal experience, I’ve seen the shock of unexpected events, the lack of a Will, and improper planning and the financial and emotional impact on family and loved ones. Fortunately, I’ve also seen the opposite, and know how a well-crafted Will protects and ensures surviving loved ones are treated with respect and fairness, as well as, are not burdened with additional stress during a difficult time of loss. My goal is to walk you through the process and make our conversations around your Will and Estate personal, practical, and real.
The Five Main areas of My Estate Practice include:
- Wills & Estate Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Health Representation Agreements
- Advance Health Directives
- Notary as Appointed Executor-Trustee or Alternate Executor
Our Wills & Estates Discussion
By making a Will my clients usually find a strong sense of relief. The Will is by no means a simple document and preparing it can be a daunting thought for many people — I hope to make the process as straightforward and easy as possible. Our Estate planning is the discussion around what you have now in your Estate, what is reasonably anticipated to be in your Estate upon death, and what your obligations may be to certain people in your family. I take the time to listen to you carefully as these aspects must be considered when planning for your Will. Subsequently, the words in your Will are carefully chosen in order to ensure that the meanings and terms reflect your true intentions. Additionally, there are specific legal requirements in order to ensure that the Will is formal, legal and valid. As a legal professional, I am current with all the laws and you will receive from me the insight, guidance, and advice as required to help you make the best informed decisions regarding what you put into your Will.
Wills & Estate Planning
The Will and Power of Attorney are the top 2 documents that every Adult should have. Your Will is about the future. And it is your opportunity to carry out your wishes on how your Estate will be distributed after you’re gone.
Reasons to Update Your Will
The number one reason to make a Will …you don’t have one! Other reasons to take dust off your Will and come see me include:
- Married after making the last one – marriage revokes the Will!
- If a beneficiary has predeceased you,
- You’ve divorced,
- You’re children are divorcing,
- You’re not in touch with the executor,
- You’ve moved from a different province or country,
- You’ve sold property specifically mentioned, or
- You’ve had a change of heart about how you want to distribute your Estate.
I strongly urge you to take a step to ticking this off your list – Simply read it through to see if it meets your needs. If you’ve had any significant changes – make an appointment to change that is essential.
If you don’t have your Will done, or need it updated, call or send an email, to book your appointment. Once we’ve connected, I will provide you with an information questionnaire that forms the basis of our conversation about your Estate.
Your Will basically accomplishes the following:
- Appoints Your Executor and Trustee – the person who will look after the administration, transfer the gifts and inheritances to your beneficiaries, and wind up your Estate;
- Gives the Executor-Trustee the legal authority to deal with your Estate;
- Spells out what happens to the residue of the Estate or, in general terms, what happens with the bulk of your Estate;
- Names Your Beneficiaries – those people or organizations who will inherit what you give to them;
- Identifies what your Beneficiaries will receive – specific sums of money, specific items, or percentages of the Estate value;
- Names any Guardians for your children under 19 years of age;
- Identifies how an Inheritance left to a Minor is to be dealt with;
- Directs what is to happen with your body upon death;
- Names or identifies any particular requirements that are special and reflective of your unique situation.
- Makes valid your intentions for your property and assets.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (POA) document provides an opportunity to give someone other than yourself the same authority you have in acting for your own self – this means the power to take care of your personal business, legal, or financial needs. The Power of Attorney is only valid for while a person is alive.
The Power of Attorney document can be quite practical. Typically people use it as they’re aging as a means to have someone (usually a trusted family member) to assist in transactions, or to have full authority in the event that the Adult develops some level of incapacity. However, there are many other reasons to make a Power of Attorney. For example:
A property owner may be away during a real estate transaction – a Power of Attorney can be created for that specific purpose, or
A family member may be travelling or moved temporarily out of the province or country.
“When my son was 19 years old, he travelled for many months in another country and soon had his wallet, ID, and bank cards stolen. Fortunately, we had arranged for me to have his Power of Attorney, I easily stepped in to assist to get replacement driver’s license, bank cards, and so on.”
Enduring Power of Attorney
You may have heard the term “enduring” as it relates to a Power of Attorney (POA). Enduring simply means that the document is drafted in a way that allows the Attorney to have Power or authority even after a person has lost capacity either permanently or temporarily. For example, the person granting the Power may no longer think in a normal capacity for themselves for such reasons that might stem from dementia, Alzheimer’s, physical injury or disease.
If you’re not sure if you need a Power of Attorney, or how to plan one that meets your needs, please contact me to discuss your particular situation.
The Health Representation Agreement provides the opportunity for a capable adult to appoint a family member or friend to make their health and personal care decisions. There are two types of agreements available based on different areas of law. Both types are fundamental in that they are designed to enable one to make their own decisions as long as possible – at the point that support is required or requested (by the Adult who’s given the authority), then the Representative steps in to help and/or make decisions. The kind of support the Representative can legally offer depends on the document.
A Section 7 Health Representation Agreement provides for assistance with routine financial, health, and personal care decisions. So, if a person does not have a Power of Attorney and has some loss of capacity, this agreement provides for the adult to get at least some routine support without requiring the consent of a court.
A Section 9 Health Representation Agreement is for health only and provides the Representative the authority to give power up to and including the refuse life-sustaining treatment. This agreement deals typically with higher level of care needs, but that depends on the situation and capacity of the adult.