It’s never too early to protect your future. Whether you’re young in age or young at heart, having an estate plan in place provides protection for yourself and your family. At a minimum, your estate plan should include the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney. A Will is a document which allows another person of your choice (known as your Estate Trustee) to manage your affairs after you die. Powers of Attorney allow another person of your choice (known as your Attorney) to manage your affairs while you are alive but unable to manage these affairs by yourself.
The Wills and Estates team at Prouse, Dash & Crouch LLP have many years of specialized practice in assisting people in the preparation of their wills and in making other important estate planning decisions. Our lawyers, through consultation with you, will help plan and implement the strategy that best suits your needs so that you can be sure that you and your family are protected.
A Will is a document which allows another person of your choice (known as your Estate Trustee) to manage your affairs after you die. A Will puts you in control of how the Estate Trustee will manage your affairs. A Will also helps to ensure that the transition of legal authority to take these actions transfers smoothly to your chosen Estate Trustee after your death.
If you do not make a Will, when you die the law will determine who will receive your property. If you, like many, are not satisfied to have the administration of your estate determined by the law then you need a Will.
By preparing a Will you can:
Powers of Attorney allow another person of your choice (known as your Attorney) to manage your affairs while you are alive but unable to do so yourself. There are two kinds of Powers of Attorney – the Power of Attorney for Property and the Power of Attorney for Personal Care. The Power of Attorney for Property allows another person to manage your financial affairs and the Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows another person to make medical and personal care decisions on your behalf. Powers of Attorney help to ensure that the transition of legal authority to take action on your behalf transfers smoothly to your chosen Attorney when you are not able to take these actions yourself. Both kinds of Powers of Attorney end upon your death, at which time the Estate Trustee under your Will takes over.
A Power of Attorney for Property allows you to appoint someone who you trust (known as your Attorney) to make decisions related to your finances and other such “personal business” in the event you become mentally or physically incapable. Financial institutions are becoming increasingly hesitant to deal with a person other than the named account holder. A Power of Attorney for Property ensures that someone you trust can access funds as needed to provide for you and your family if you are not able to do so yourself.
If you do not make a Power of Attorney for Property and later lose your ability to manage your affairs, a loved one may need to apply for guardianship. A guardianship application is detailed, complicated, lengthy, and costly. Additionally, there are ongoing reporting and monitoring obligations involved with guardianship making it this option more burdensome.
Making Power of Attorney for Property allows you to be in control of who manages your financial affairs. This is very important for someone who will have total control of your bank accounts, investments, and other assets. An attorney has the potential to negatively impact your assets and decrease the overall value of your estate. As such, it is critical that you, the person who is giving over control, trust the person who will be in charge. If you have not made a Power of Attorney for Property, you will not be able to control who will apply to be your guardian.
Absent a medical emergency, health practitioners cannot administer treatment unless they receive consent from the person they wish to treat. If you are mentally or physically incapable to make these decisions, you cannot provide this consent and someone else will have to provide it on your behalf.
If you are not able to provide consent and you have not signed a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, a Court application will have to be made to give someone legal authority to make these decisions for you. Signing a Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows a person of your choice to be given legal authority to act on your behalf to make decisions related to your health and personal care without delay need for Court approval. You may also include specific care instructions in your Power of Attorney for Personal Care which instruct your attorney under what conditions to give or withhold consent to medical treatment.