Having a valid will and designated power of attorney can help make sure your estate is managed and distributed how you intended.
You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. Now you want to help ensure you and your family can reap the rewards. But if the unforeseen happens, would your family be able to afford to live the life you want for them?
A will sets out how you want your estate to be managed and distributed, after your death. It can also include the appointment of a guardian for your children.
Without a will, management of your estate can be costly, time consuming and must be distributed according to provincial legislation, rather than as you decide.
Therefore, it is important to have a valid will and to review it regularly to make sure it is still in line with your intentions.
Seek a lawyer specializing in estate planning to help you make decisions about what you want done with your estate and to ensure it is prepared properly.
If you were to become incapable of handling your affairs, control of your assets could revert to a person appointed by a court.
It would be more useful if you had an enduring power of attorney set up now so that if you cannot manage your affairs, someone you trust and have chosen to act for you, can make the important decisions affecting you and your financial affairs.
A lawyer can help with setting up a power of attorney, setting the terms and how they will apply.
A personal directive or living will allows you to designate someone who will make health care and personal care decisions for you when you are not able and provide instructions for future care while you are still capable of making decisions for yourself.
A personal directive provides an opportunity for you to discuss treatment options with your medical staff and discuss and resolve difficult issues with family and friends.
Your directive must be made while you are still capable of giving consent.
Setting up a trust with a nominated trustee, who has responsibility for distributing the estate to your specifically identified beneficiaries, can have tax benefits. It can also be used to protect assets from creditors or if a dependent isn’t capable of managing money.
You should obtain your own independent professional advice from your lawyer and/or accountant to take into account your particular circumstances.