Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of sorting out how, when and to whom, the proceeds of your Estate are to be distributed.  It is about planning to protect the interests of your family, both in the short term and upon your death.  Without proper Estate planning and implementation, you may not have enough in your Estate to accomplish all of the bequests that are set out in your Will.

There are three documents you should consider having prepared when you are making your Estate planning arrangements:  a Will, Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement.

A Will is a legal document that allows you explain what you want done with your “Estate” when you die. Your “Estate” consists of everything you own: jointly owned land or bank accounts do not form part of your Estate.  If you die without a Will, your Estate is distributed according to provincial law, not according to your wishes.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint a trusted person to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. This is extremely important if you become incapacitated, if you travel or if you just need some help with your affairs.

A Representation Agreement is a legal document which allows you appoint someone you trust to make personal care and health care decisions on your behalf.



Wills

A valid, up-to-date Will is the most important part of your Estate plan. Many people have a Will prepared and forget about updating it. So much can change in terms of your circumstances, assets, beneficiaries and wishes that you need to review your Will on an annual basis at a set time.

We can put you in our “Reminder Database” to ensure a reminder goes out to you on a regular basis. Also, review your Will when any major change occurs in your life such as acquisition of a major asset, marriage, divorce, death of a spouse/Executor/beneficiary or birth of a child/grandchild.

The best way to create a Will is to work with an expert. Many do-it-yourself Will packages leave details open to legal interpretation. It pays to get good advice.



Information Required to Prepare Your Will

  • Legal name (and aliases) and address for yourself, Trustee, and beneficiaries
  • A brief description of your assets
  • Items or specific sums of money you wish to leave to individuals or charities
  • How you want to distribute the balance of your Estate (often referred to as the residue)
  • If a beneficiary should predecease you, indicate who you would like to receive that portion
  • If a minor child is a potential beneficiary, indicate who the trustee will be for the child
  • If you have a minor child, indicate who the guardian of the child will be
  • Information on burial, cremation or pre-arranged plans
  • Information about registered assets such as private aircraft, pleasure craft and corporations

You may complete our Will Information Form and either submit it electronically to get the process started or call/e-mail our office for an appointment and bring the completed Form with you.

Choosing a Trustee

One of your most important Estate planning decisions is naming a Trustee (formerly referred to as an Executor) to ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as stated in your Will.  In some families, that decision is based on tradition or culture, where the oldest child or male is automatically given that role. But this may not be the best choice. It can cause family resentment and the person named may not be suited to the task.

Being a Trustee of a Will can be very time consuming, stressful and complex. Your Trustee must keep proper records and may need to be available for an extended period of time to administer your Estate.  It can take up to a year or more to finalize an Estate.  Make sure you discuss this with your potential Trustee before you have your Will prepared.  You would also be well advised to consider naming an alternate Trustee in case your Trustee predeceases you (and you have not updated your Will) or they are unable or unwilling to act as your Trustee at the time of your death. Tiah Workman does accept Trustee appointments.

Duties of a Trustee

As Trustee, you control all aspects of the Estate’s administration. This extends from identifying and protecting the deceased’s assets, to distributing those assets to the beneficiaries. As Trustee, you are legally accountable to the beneficiaries. Please see the attached Trustee’s Checklist for a general overview of the duties expected of a Trustee. Also see the People’s Law School publication, Being A Trustee.


Notes to Assist Trustee

Many Trustees do not have any information available regarding your personal information and assets at the time of your death, which results in frustration and delay. You need to prepare a current, complete and accurate outline or inventory with details of your financial and personal information and update it as circumstances change. You don’t want to leave unanswered questions.

Assets that you should list in your inventory include:

  • Your home and vacation property
  • Registered and non-registered investments
  • Bank accounts
  • The face value of annuities and insurance policies
  • Personal property such as cars, jewelry, art, etc.
  • Pension assets (i.e. membership in a company pension plan)
  • The current value of any businesses you own

Liabilities that you should list in your inventory include:

  • Mortgage on your home and vacation property
  • Investment-related debt
  • Credit cards
  • Personal obligations such as family support


 

In your inventory you should also document where the following items are located:

  • Original Will and Power of Attorney/ Representation Agreement
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Insurance policies
  • Real Estate documents
  • Location of safety deposit box
  • Details of pre-planned funeral arrangements

And it should also include:

  • A list of your professional advisors and their contact information
  • Names and addresses of Executor(s) of your Will
  • Names and addresses of beneficiaries under your Will
  • Names and addresses of guardians for children

 


Please see the attached Estate Planning Guide for more information or to provide your Estate information to my office.


Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. If you become incapacitated and do not have a Power of Attorney, a family member must apply to the Court to be appointed your Committee. If you have no family or no family members are willing to take on this process, the government, in the form of the Public Guardian and Trustee, is obliged to step in.


Choosing an Attorney

You should choose someone you trust, whether that might be your spouse, adult child, friend or other family member. It is essential that the person you appoint be trustworthy and available. As with your Will, you should choose an alternate to ensure that someone is always available to assist you.

Our sister company, Family By Choice Seniors Support & Asset Management is available to assist you if you want to have independent, experienced and personal service.


Health Care Plan


Representation Agreements

A Power of Attorney is used for legal and financial matters. A Representation Agreement is used for personal care and health care matters. There are two types of Representation Agreements:

  • Standard (s. 7) which covers routine health care decisions and can also include financial management (usually for someone with diminished capacity); and
  • Enhanced (s. 9) which provides broader powers including end of life decision making

Your Representative must make decisions on your behalf following your wishes, values and beliefs to the best of their knowledge. As such, it is important that you take the time to let them know what your wishes, values and beliefs are. These agreements are particularly important for people who have no spouse or children or for people who cannot reply on their family members due to distance, lack of communication or a difference in values.  Check out www.nidus.ca for a very clear overview of all of these estate-planning documents.

Your Representative should be someone who is available, willing and competent to help you with health care and personal care decisions. It is a much bigger job than most people realize. Family By Choice Seniors Support & Asset Management is available to be your health care advocate if you want to have experienced and personalized service.


Advance Directives

Formerly known as “Living Wills”, Advance Directives can be vital documents for Estate planning. They contain a person’s wishes for health care and end of life decisions and are binding on health care professionals. Unlike a Representation Agreement where you are appointing someone to assist you in making decisions, or to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer capable, the Advance Directive is the decision or rather, contains your decisions, without requiring personal input from an individual on your behalf.

 

Fees

Wills


One Person

$300.00*

A Couple

$475.00*

Seniors

$250.00*

Seniors

$425.00*

 

 

 

 

 

Powers of Attorney or Representation Agreements


One Person

$275.00*for Power of Attorney or Representation Agreement

A Couple

$425.00*for Powers of Attorney or Representation Agreements

Seniors

$225.00*for Power of Attorney or Representation Agreement

Seniors

$375.00*for Powers of Attorney or Representation Agreements


Home or Hospital Visits


Per visit (Local)

$100.00*

Per visit (Hospital/Downtown)

$150.00*

 

 

 

Will Registration Fee

Registration Fee

$25.00*

 

 

 

If not done at the same time as preparing a new Will, we will register a Wills Notice with the Wills Registry.

 

Nidus Registration Fee

Registration Fee

$25.00*

 

 

 

Applies to all Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement registrations in the Nidus Registry as requested.

*plus applicable disbursements and GST/PST

Fees current as of February 1, 2017 (rates subject to change)

Please note: We will request a $200.00 deposit at the time of the first appointment

Please note: For our estate planning clients, we charge $50.00 for appointment cancellations for appointments cancelled on the date of the appointment

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