What exactly is Estate Planning? Estate Planning generally consists of preparing a Last Will and Testament. This document permits you to choose your Executor, who is the person that will look after your funeral arrangements and administration of your estate assets. If you have a child/children, a Will allows you to nominate a specific person to have guardianship over the child/children if both you and your spouse have passed. A Will also allows you to choose who will receive your estate. Without a Will, the estate laws set out who is entitled to receive your estate.
Since Wills govern your estate only after death, your estate planning should also include Power of Attorney documents.
A Power of Attorney for Property will let you nominate someone to pay your bills, and look after your assets/money, if you are incapable of doing so yourself. Without a Power of Attorney for Property, your spouse, if you have one, will not have the authority to deal with your bank accounts or any assets in your name. Without a Power of Attorney for Property, an agency of the provincial government called the Public Guardian and Trustee can automatically step in to take over your assets and money. Your spouse or family will be left to deal with this agency to regain authority over your assets.
Your estate planning should also include a Power of Attorney Personal Care. This document allows you to nominate a specific person to deal with medical decisions, if you are incapable of doing so yourself.
Tax Planning must also be part of your estate planning discussion. This is to ensure that taxation at death can be minimized, including the Estate Administration Tax which is levied when you probate an estate.
Contact us to discuss/prepare your estate planning documents.