There can be a number of documents, agreements and structures put in place to plan for succession and death. Depending on the complexity of a person’s estate (assets), his/her family situation and objectives as to whom to benefit upon his/her demise, estate planning can be relatively straight forward and might only require a good Will, or it might involve the creation and transfer of assets into an inter vivos (created while you are alive) trust or corporate structure.
The use of joint tenancies and trusts can help avoid Probate fees but caution must be exercised in the use of these tools as they can expose a person to unwanted and unexpected costs and loss of control of their property if placed in the hands of the wrong Trustee or joint owner.
Mike would be pleased to review your estate planning needs with you and assist with virtually all documentation required to achieve the best result for you and your intended beneficiaries.
A will is an important tool to ensure that, after your death, you may benefit those people and institutions which were important to you during your lifetime. You should give consideration as to who you would like to appoint as an executor, because while it is often considered an honour by the executor so appointed, it is a serious responsibility. You should also carefully consider those classes of people to whom you owe a duty and to ensure that you make adequate provisions for them.
Power of Attorney
While a will is an important document to ensure that the wishes with respect to your assets and your beneficiaries are made known after your death, a power of attorney is a critical document to ensure that your assets are safeguarded during your lifetime. If, for any reason, you are unable to make any financial decision (for example, renewing your mortgage, automobile insurance or paying bills, etc.) an enduring power of attorney can allow you to appoint someone to make those types of decisions on your behalf. It is important to note that a power of attorney is effective as soon as it is signed, and allows your attorney to act on your behalf even during any mental infirmity.
This document can set out your wishes with respect to what, if any, medical intervention you would like to receive in the event of a traumatic health event. Unlike the power of attorney and representation agreement, however, in this document you do not appoint someone to act on your behalf. If you would like to ensure that no heroic measures are taken if there is no reasonable hope for your recovery, the living will can set out those wishes. The directions contained in this document can make it easier for your loved ones to make a decision they know will meet with your wishes during a very emotionally-trying time, without the guilt that often accompanies such a difficult choice.
In the same way that, with a power of attorney, you may appoint someone to act for you with respect to your financial well-being, with a representation agreement you may appoint someone to assist you with your health and personal care if you are unable to make those sorts of decisions on your own. In addition, many care homes now require residents to have both a valid representation agreement in place for their health and personal care, and an enduring power of attorney in place for their financial affairs.
We would strongly recommend that you have these planning documents put into place during a time in which they are not immediately required. Then, when they are needed, you may rest easy knowing that your wishes are documented. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or if we may be of any assistance to you in preparing any of the above-noted documents.
Nicole has in excess of 30 years’ experience working in law. Prior to joining Bradford Rathborne Law, she was employed for over 20 years by an international law firm in Vancouver. She brings to our firm a broad range of experience, particularly in the area of estate administration, and enjoys working closely with clients to assist them in navigating the often daunting and emotionally challenging task of administering an estate.
A graduate of Trinity Western University and Capilano College, Nicole earned her BA (Hons) in Honours English at the former and her Paralegal Certificate at the latter. She speaks, reads and writes German, is an enthusiastic baker, an avid reader, and an animal lover. When not at the office, Nicole can often be seen walking with her rescue dog around the South Surrey and White Rock neighbourhoods she feels fortunate to call home.