|Sursa dumneavoastra de Estates si Real Estate Law - Interesting facts about your estate planning documents|
A survey performed by Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Co. reveals that 56% of Canadian adults do not have a Will and 70% do not have Powers of Attorney. A Will is a legal document which indicates how a person wants their estate to be distributed, and a Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives a person the power to act for another person, either with respect to their property or their personal care.
What the majority of Canadians do not know, however, is that having these documents set up will save them and their families countless legal bills, family disputes and headaches down the road.
When you die without a will, you die “intestate”. Dying intestate means being satisfied with the distribution of your assets in accordance with the existing intestacy laws, and not in accordance with your wishes. Here are the things you give up by not having a will:
- You do not choose who will receive your money and property (the person is known as a “beneficiary”);
- You do not choose what percentage of your assets go to a certain person/institution;
- You do not plan your estate to decrease taxes on death;
- You do not choose who will administer your estate: arrange for your funeral, pay bills distribute your estate;
- You do not appoint a guardian for your minor children.
The survey also noted that young people between the ages of 27 and 34 need these documents the most, due to the significant milestones they go through: getting married, buying a house and having children.
In case this article is making you wonder about your situation, here are some interesting facts to note about Wills and Powers of Attorney:
(1) Your Powers of Attorney for Property and Personal Care only work while you are alive; afterwards, they are automatically revoked. Your Attorney can continue to act on your behalf until they become aware of your death;
(2) Your Will only comes into effect after you pass away; however, it is very much a valid document while you are alive;
(3) While acting for you, your Attorney for Property is allowed to do anything with your property which you would do, except make a Will;
(4) Marriage revokes a Will! Unless you make a Will in "contemplation" of your marriage;
(5) Divorce revokes the gifts in the Will made to the former spouse; it also revokes appointment of the former spouse as an Executor. However, you can avoid this by including an override clause in your Will when you draft it;
(6) Separation does not revoke a Will or the gifts by Will to a spouse.
For any of my clients who find themselves in any of these scenarios, I remind them that they may revoke or amend a Will or a Power of Attorney at any time provided they have the requisite mental capacity.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE IS MERELY FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.
Raluca M. Soica, BBA, CPA, CMA, JD
Raluca M. Soica 5/26/2020