Wills and Powers of Attorney Introductory Guide
My experience is that many people put off making Wills and Powers of Attorney. I believe that this is a mistake. Having updated Wills and Powers of Attorney will give you “peace of mind” knowing that your personal affairs are in order for you and your family’s benefit.
To help you understand Wills and Powers of Attorney, I have put together the next 5 articles which provide an overview and answer frequently asked questions. The articles are not substitutes for legal advice, they are for general information. It is advisable that you read these articles prior to your appointment.
- Reasons for Making a Will what a will is, why it’s needed and what happens without one.
- Continuing Powers of Attorney for Property (CPAP) what is a CPAP, why have one, what it covers and when it ends.
- Personal Care Power of Attorney(PCPA) what is a PCPA, why have one, what it covers and when it ends.
- Estate Planning for Average Canadian the many principles of estate planning that the average Canadian should be aware of. Addresses many issues relating to end of life decisions and the transfer of assets.
- Definitions – Will & Powers of Attorney glossary of legal terms.
Before your consultation, I would ask you to complete the Will and Powers of Attorney Asset Information Form and Will Questionnaire Form, links are found below in the Quick Guide to Forms. These forms also serve as a record that may help your executor in administering your estate. Of course, all information regarding your assets is strictly confidential.
Quick Guide to Other Will and Power of Attorney Articles
- What Happens at the First Wills Appointment – topics covered in detail.
- Wills Procedure – during the Will appointment.
- Purposes & Plain Meaning of Clauses in a Will – clauses such as revocation, perpetuity and accumulation are explained.
- Changing Your Will – covers how to change your will, codicils, problems if it is not done correctly and what happens if you marry or divorce.
- Reasons for Changing a Will or Power of Attorney Checklist – outlines the main areas and situations which prompt a need to change your will or Powers of Attorney.
- Storage of Wills and Powers of Attorney – suggestions for safekeeping.
Quick Guide to Forms
- Will Questionnaire – personal particulars and proposed executors.
- Personal Care Power of Attorney Questionnaire – basic details required from the client.
- Continuing Power of Attorney for Property Questionnaire – basic details required from the client
- Asset Information Form – list of financial records – investments, loan, insurance, etc.
True or False?
If a spouse dies without a will, the surviving spouse automatically receives the entire estate of the deceased spouse.
FALSE: If there are children of any age, then the estate is divided between the surviving spouse and the children when there is no will.
A person must provide that on his or her death a portion of the estate will go to the surviving spouse and adult child.
FALSE: Upon death, one only has to provide for their dependant spouse or a spouse, who under the Family Law Act, would be entitled to a greater share of the total assets of the parties than assets registered in his or her name. One only has to leave money to children when they are a dependant of the deceased so adult children are allowed to be given nothing from the estate.
When a property is registered in two people's names, it means that both parties hold the property as joint tenants and therefore, if one dies the other party obtains the property by right of survivorship.
FALSE: The registration must specifically state “as joint tenants” or else the property is deemed to be in “tenants in common” which does not give the right of survivorship.
Without a Power of Attorney, even if a family member applies, the government will look after a person's personal and financial affairs if that person becomes mentally incompetent.
FALSE: A family member may apply and be appointed to look after the person’s personal and financial affairs if that person becomes mentally incompetent.
If one remarries their will and powers of attorney are still valid.
FALSE: A will is automatically revoked on marriage (unless made in contemplation of marriage) and therefore the new spouse will get the first $250,000 and a portion thereafter. The Powers of Attorney are still valid.