Wills, Enduring Powers Of Attorney And Personal Directives and Probate
There are many important events in your life which require you to consider drafting or revising your estate documents, including your Will, your Enduring Power of Attorney and your Personal Directive. For instance,
- the purchase or sale of a home or other significant asset
- new ownership of a business
- birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
- death of a family member
- separation or divorce
If you’ve ever purchased a home, started a business, cared for a loved one or even lost a loved one, you probably understand that there are many legal aspects to something that appears to be straight forward. These are all important times in your life and we would like you to consider directing your thoughts to your estate. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, single or married, or have children or grandchildren. There are many legal complexities when dealing with Wills and Estates, and we can help. We have prepared hundreds of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Personal Directives over the years.
Properly drafted documentation is essential at all times, but especially to any estate plan.
Most people know what a Will is and how important it is to have one, however more people are learning about the importance of an Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive. An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs if you are alive, but unable to do so, either temporarily or permanently. A Personal Directive (a Living Will in some provinces) allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions if you are alive, but unable to do so. If these documents have not been prepared, and you become incapacitated, it will likely be necessary for someone in your family to go to Court to get an Order to allow them to deal with these matters. Some people believe that their spouse or next of kin can simply step in to make these decisions when they are unable. That is not true. Without an Enduring Power of Attorney or Personal Directive in place your loved ones will have to resort to the court process pursuant to The Dependent Adult Act of Alberta. Not only is the alternative court process expensive (roughly 25 times the cost), but the person appointed by the Court might not be who you would choose. It is also time-consuming and very often you need someone to step in in an emergency.
In many situations, a Power of Attorney and Personal Directive can be more important than a Will. Ask yourself, if I am incapacitated, and I can’t make a decision regarding my finances or health care, who has the authority to do it for me? A Will only takes effect on death, but a Power of Attorney and/or Personal Directive can be active for many years following an accident or illness.
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