WILLS AND PLANNING
Plan with Confidence (Advanced Planning)
One of the most important and caring things you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to prepare in advance for a time when you may not be able to express your own needs and wishes. Expressing and legally documenting preferences and instructions can protect you or your family members from financial abuse or exploitation. Designating healthcare decision-makers and documenting instructions can create peace-of-mind, minimize dissension and anguish among friends and family and ensure compliance on critical decisions. Advance planning can be a very comforting and satisfying process, especially when it’s managed by an experienced and trusted legal professional. We understand the sensitivities and complexities of these planning decisions, and will ensure that your intentions are clear and properly documented-so you can rest assured about the future. If you have close family and friends, expressing your preferences clearly and encouraging them to do the same is one of the greatest gifts you can give them to ensure they are aware of your wishes-and to save potential confusion or conflict later on. Clear, legally documented instructions can also save costly and time-consuming legal intervention in the future. Following are some of the advanced planning tools we can advise you on:
Wills are a critical tool for outlining one’s wishes for the distribution of assets, guardianship of minor children, and the designation of an Executor who takes care of administering the estate. Despite this, a November 2010 survey found that only 51% of B.C. adults have a Will in place. Without a Will, the Court will determine who will be the Executor, and the law will decide who is entitled to the estate.
Power of Attorney:
A Power of Attorney allows a capable adult to appoint a person or persons to handle their financial and legal matters in the event they are unable to do so themselves or need assistance. The document also specifies whether these individuals are allowed to act separately or required to act together. Because of the financial authority conveyed, it is critical that the Adult fully understands what powers they are granting with this document and have complete trust in the person they are appointing. It also allows the Adult to compensate their designated attorney for performing actions on their behalf.
Deed or Gift:
A Deed of Gift documents a significant gift to another person during one’s lifetime. When prepared and notarized by a Notary, it proves the donor’s intention for the gift which can be required to counter undue influence or arguments after the donor’s death. This can also be useful in circumstances where a person near death wants to transfer their assets or home into joint tenancy or wants to give a significant sum of money or gift to another person during their lifetime.
Advance Directives document instructions to doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers for an individual’s future healthcare. This ensures their wishes will be carried out by healthcare providers if they are unable to express them in the future.
A Representation Agreement appoints a representative, or multiple representatives, to make decisions regarding an individual’s health and personal care in the event they are unable to communicate their own wishes. Depending on how the Representation Agreement is prepared, a designated representative’s authority can include: • routine finances • decisions regarding healthcare, personal care, and limited legal affairs • refusal or consent to life support treatment and care • consent to less common medical procedures/treatment • consent to treatment the Adult approved while capable but since losing capacity has refused to consent • deciding on living arrangements for the Adult including choosing a care facility
We can help determine the appropriate scope for specific representative(s).