Wills, Estates And Powers Of Attorney: Your Faqs Answered

What Is A Will and What Does It Do?

A will is a written document that allows a person to make decisions on how their property will be managed and distributed after death. Writing a will ensures your final wishes are carried out.

What Happens If I Don’t Have A Will When I Die?

When a person dies without a valid will, Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act dictates how an estate will be divided up. This process is called Interstate Succession. Ultimately, most people want to distribute their properties differently to how the state would. By writing a will, this ensures your possessions, financial or not, are passed down to the individuals and organizations of your choosing. It’s worth noting, Interstate Succession doesn’t allow for any personal assets to be handed to friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, schools, or charitable organizations.

How Many Canadians Have A Will In Place?

Alarmingly, according to 2018 data from The Angus Reid Institute, as many as 51% of Canadians did not have a will in place. Furthermore, only 35% admitted to keeping their will up-to-date. Essentially, this means half of Canadians will have no say in what happens to their assets after they pass away.

Do Wills Do More Than Distributing Assets?

Besides distributing assets, a will allows you to make key appointments too. The most important appointment is an executor. In short, an executor is an individual that takes care of all your matters on your behalf. An executor handles the distribution of all your assets while settling any outstanding debts and matters such as prospect guardianship if you have young children. Did you know, an executor can be a family member or close friend too? Ultimately, your solicitor should discuss with you who is best suited to assuming this position. Moreover, when more than one executor is named, the role of co-executor comes to the fore. However, all executors must work in unison.

Home-Drawn vs. Lawyer-Drawn Wills – Which Should I Choose?

Oftentimes, home-drawn wills seem like a cost and time-effective way to ensure your wishes are written down. But why rush something so important? Sometimes, flimsy home-drawn wills aren’t valid and can lead to years of costly litigation and beneficiary stress. By consulting with a law firm like De Rose Lawyers, this can minimize potential infighting between family members over the validity of your will. Additionally, a law firm can also answer your most pressing questions too, including:

  • What if one of my estate beneficiaries is a minor?
  • What if one of my estate beneficiaries receives government benefits like ODSP?
  • How can I exclude a family member from my estate?
  • What if one of my estate beneficiaries passes away before me?

How Can My Will Help Avoid Costly Litigation?

Ultimately, clear, concise and proper will wording is the most effective way to minimize the chance of lengthy and costly litigation. Elsewhere, a properly drafted will can also allow you to reduce the probate fee.

Can I Change My Will? And How Often Should I Change It?

If you already have a will in place, it’s important to review it every couple of years. This is because your life circumstances can change. Things like births, deaths, adoption, marriage, second marriage, divorce and your financial situation can all affect your will, thus calling for an update. Essentially, the best way to proceed with changes is contacting a law firm like De Rose Lawyers.

What Is A Power of Attorney and What Does It Do?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives an individual, called an attorney, the ability and right to make decisions on your behalf. This individual should be completely trustworthy while knowing and understanding all your wishes and needs.

Is There More Than One Type of Power of Attorney?

There are two types of Power of Attorney in Ontario. The first is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care and the second is a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property.

What Does A Power of Attorney for Personal Care Do?

This gives your attorney authority over your health, security and hygiene. Not only that but it gives you a chance to state the type of care you want too. This type of Power of Attorney only takes effect when you become mentally incapable of making your own decisions.

What Does A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property Do?

Taking effect as soon as you sign it, this POA gives your attorney authority over some or all of your finances and property. However, it excludes the authority to make a Will on your behalf. This type of Power of Attorney allows for the management of your finances and property on your behalf while you are still mentally capable of managing personal affairs. However, it also lets your attorney continue acting on your behalf if you become mentally incapable too. Moreover, this POA can be “specific” or “limited” too. In other words, your attorney can perform a task like selling a house or you can give them authority for a specified period of time. In some cases, this POA can come into effect only when you become mentally incapable of managing your finances and property. However, this must be specified up front in the document.

Can I Control How Much Authority My Attorney Has?

Ultimately, it’s your decision how much or how little authority your attorney has. Importantly, you always need to outline the parameters of their power. Remember, when a Power of Attorney is agreed, your attorney can do, on your behalf, almost everything with your finances and property that you could do. In conclusion, careful planning is always a necessity.

Why Choose De Rose Lawyers?

Navigating the family law system can be complicated and overwhelming. Writing wills and choosing individuals to act on your behalf is very important too. Rest assured, De Rose Lawyers provides the help and support you need so you can move forward. Our team always pays attention to the intricacies of your situation with a great deal of thought and consideration.

We work tirelessly and passionately with each and every one of our clients, giving us a shining reputation among the legal community. We empower our clients by providing them with flexible appointments, affordable legal fees, valuable tools and information every step of the way.