Wills and Estates
WHO NEEDS A WILL AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY? WE ALL DO.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY: are documents that allow you to appoint someone to make decisions and take steps for you while are alive but unable to manage on your own. Depending on the terminology contained in the Power of Attorney, these forms can become effective as soon as you sign them. There are certain criteria that determine when the Powers of Attorney can be acted upon which will be explained later.
A person appointed under a Power of Attorney to manage your affairs is called an “Attorney”.
Power of Attorney for Personal Care: Depending on how this form is drafted, it deals with health and medical matters and can include such provisions as “heroic measures”, the administration of pain medicines for comfort, long term care, etc.. This Power of Attorney gives instructions to the Attorney to carry out your wishes.
Power of Attorney for Property: Depending on how this form is drafted, the powers that an appointed Attorney can have can be restricted to certain events or extremely broad to include virtually everything of a financial nature except preparing a Will for you or making any changes to a Will. It most cases, this type of Power of Attorney take effect the moment you sign and therefore great care must be taken to ensure its safety. It is therefore most important to have this form prepared by a qualified lawyer such as Lynn Archbold.
How are Powers of Attorney obtained if I become unable to manage my affairs? It is the lawyer’s job to ensure that the documents don’t fall into the wrong hands or used before necessary. Therefore, the lawyer must have medical evidence by way of a Medical Assessment by a qualified doctor to submit in writing that you are unable to manage your own affairs. Upon a lawyer’s receipt of that medical assessment, the Powers of Attorney forms can be released to the appointed Attorney. There are other ways to activate a Power of Attorney which can be discussed with Lynn Archbold.
Without proper Powers of Attorney, dealing with every day matters that we take for granted such as: rent/mortgage payments, bills, banking, health decisions, extended health care, guardianship/care of minor children are all put at risk.
A WILL becomes effective as soon as you pass away, rendering the Powers of Attorney immediately null and void.
A person appointed in your Will is commonly called an “Executor” (male) or an “Executrix” (female). Another name for an Executor/trix is “Estate Trustee”.
A properly drafted Will should take care of issues surrounding guardianship of minor children, special provisions for children having disabilities, property, bank accounts, investments, insurance, etc. You should have a Will and Powers of Attorney to protect your loved ones and your hard earned money.
With new security measures constantly changing with financial institutions, it is becoming more and more difficult to function without proper legal documents when managing a loved one’s personal/monetary affairs.
A person’s estate must be probated (“processed”) through the Courts if the total value of the estate exceeds $50,000.00 regardless of whether or not a person has died with a Will or without a Will.
Please note: As of January 1, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Finance has added a new requirement regarding Estate Administration Tax and new parameters in which this requirement applies, even for estates valued equal to or less than $1,000.00 in total and must be submitted within 90 days after an Estate Certificate is issued by a Court House. Lynn Archbold would be pleased to discuss this new requirement in greater detail. Please see the attached link for further information:
Why does a lawyer recommend retaining my original Estate Planning Documents? Practicing lawyers in good standing, such as Lynn Archbold, have a governing body called the “Law Society of Upper Canada”. Lawyers are required to take necessary measures and maintain standards of care regarding the safekeeping of such important documents including proper storage. There are also provisions lawyers must take to ensure that when a lawyer passes away, retires or changes law firms, clients’ files and Estate Documents are properly cared for and accounted for under the Law Society’s Guidelines.
For peace of mind and for those you leave behind, having the Estate documents drafted is a wise decision but having them in a safe place is absolutely essential!
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