Alberta residents who have established estate plans will want to review those documents at regular intervals to ensure they remain current. Many of life’s changes like births, deaths, marriages and divorces might affect those plans. Also, it is wise to make sure that previously named powers of attorney and personal directives are still available and able to play those crucial roles in the event of the testator becoming debilitated.
A personal directive allows the chosen person to make decisions about all nonfinancial, personal matters if the testator is not able to take care of such issues. This gives the planner the opportunity to record specific wishes or preferences with relation to health and other personal matters from which the individual specified in the personal directive can gain guidance when he or she must make decisions. It can also include wishes related to elder care and/or a nursing home.
Anyone who becomes physically or mentally incapacitated without a personal directive in place will need family members to apply for guardianship under the Alberta Adult Trusteeship and Guardianship Act. Without that, no one can make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. The disadvantage is that such an application can take months to finalize, a time during which no one may speak for that person. It might also lead to the court appointing someone whom the testator would not have chosen.
Many people tend to avoid completing personal directives. However, the entire process can be simplified with the support and guidance of an experienced Alberta estate planning lawyer. Legal counsel can assess the unique circumstances of the client, and draft or update wills and estates to serve the best interests of the testator and ensure proper care as he or she ages.