Wills and Trusts
Wills and Powers of Attorney
A lawyer can assist you to ensure that that your wishes after death are followed regarding the distribution of your estate. A will that has been properly prepared assists to reduce difficulties and problems that can arise in the administration of your estate.
If you die without a will, you are considered to have passed away intestate and that has a dramatic effect on the administration and distribution of your estate. Instead of you choosing your estate trustee (the person who administers your estate) and you choosing who receives what gifts, it is decided by others. Someone must come forward and apply to be appointed by the courts as your estate trustee without a will. This may not be the person you would have chosen. How your estate is distributed is decided by the Succession Laws of your province, not by you.
A lawyer can help discuss with you the best way to structure your will including your most important wishes like trust provisions for minor children and the temporary appointment of guardians for minor children.
The specific wording and details in a will are very important as is the proper witnessing and signing of the will. If a lawyer is not involved you take the risk that it will not be done properly and unfortunately these problems are only discovered after you have died.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of Attorney are legal documents that allow you to appoint someone else to be your legal representative and make decisions on your behalf when you are alive but not able to do it yourself. There are two main kind of powers of attorney, general and personal care. General powers of attorney deal with financial matters and other legal documents. You can set it up so you are creating a duplicate of yourself now or that it can only take effect if you are mentally incapable. The person you appoint must be someone you fully trust as they will be able to sign cheques for you, do banking for you, sign real estate documents for you and other legal documents.
Personal Care Power of Attorney
This document has also been referred to as a living will. By its very nature this document only takes effect once you are unable to make medical and personal care decisions for yourself. In this legal document you appoint the person you want making medical and personal care decisions for you when you cannot make them for yourself. This can range from consenting or refusing consent for medical treatments and procedures to choosing an appropriate care facility for you to live in when you can no longer reside in your home.