Estate and Personal Planning

“ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END”

– There is an end to everything, to good things as well. The proverb dates back to about 1374 (Chaucer)

Estate Planning
is the process of sorting out how, when and to whom the proceeds of your estate are to be distributed.  It is about planning to fulfill your legal obligations and protecting the interests of your intended beneficiaries upon your death.

Personal Planning
includes setting out substitute decision makers during times when you are away, have a health care issue or become incapacitated.

When you meet with our Notary about your estate distribution and personal planning documents you can feel assured that she will make you comfortable discussing such serious matters. The documents you should consider are:

LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
Your Will is an INVALUABLE planning tool that, when properly drafted and executed, gives instructions for distribution of the proceeds of your estate after your death.   Did you know that only 49% of British Columbia adults have a Will?  The other 51% don’t realize what trouble they could be leaving behind for their loved ones.

The executor is the person you have chosen to administer the instructions in your Will.  Much thought should be given to choosing who that person will be.  This person must be trustworthy and organized.  You may choose a family member or close personal friend, or you may prefer to name an independent executor such as our Notary or your accountant.

Our procedure for preparation of Wills is a 2-appointment process.  Our first meeting will be ½ hour to 1 hour in duration.  Our Notary will discuss what your estate consists of and what your responsibilities and wishes are.  It can be useful to put together a list of names and addresses of your Beneficiaries as well as a list of your  assets.  If you own real estate you should bring a copy of your property title or tax assessment.

Once the Will is drafted we will contact you to set up your second appointment for review and execution of the Will, or to make any revisions.

POWER OF ATTORNEY
Power of Attorney is a VERY important planning tool.  If you appoint someone under Power of Attorney, this means that they can act on your behalf regarding your legal and financial affairs.  For example, the person appointed (called the “Attorney”) can pay your bills or sell your assets.  A Power of Attorney can be particularly useful if you become incapacitated either mentally or physically.  A Power of Attorney can be for a specific event, ie. selling your home while you are away, or it can be general relating to all legal and financial affairs.  In most cases you will want the Power of Attorney to be ENDURING (also called non-expiring).

The person you appoint must be someone you trust implicitly.  They must be at least 19 years of age.  You must understand the effect of a Power of Attorney and you must understand that the Power of Attorney has the potential for abuse.  CHOOSE CAREFULLY AND WISELY.

Our Notary will help you understand all the implications when you grant Power of Attorney.

REPRESENTATION AGREEMENT
Many people feel that they would like to have more control over their personal care and health care as they get older or if they become disabled.  You may wish to have a Representation Agreement which appoints someone to make personal care and health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.  This can be especially important if you do not have a spouse or if you cannot rely on family members due to distance or lack of communication or a difference in values.  There are two types of Representation Agreements:

Standard (Section 7) – This type of Representation Agreement allows for limited health care and financial assistance by the Representative appointed.  This document is most commonly used when the Adult does not have full mental capacity at the time they are appointing the Representative.   Someone with a developmental disability or mental health issue ie. schizophrenia, may also benefit from this type of Representation Agreement.  There are some circumstances when a monitor is also required.

The power granted under a Standard Representation Agreement does not include refusal of life-supporting care or treatment, nor does it allow the sale of assets.  There are circumstances when a monitor is also required.  All of this means less risk to the Adult while still providing a level of assistance that helps them deal with the routine matters in their everyday lives.

Enhanced (Section 9) – This type of Representation Agreement is the most common.  The person appointed under this document will be able to consent or refuse consent on behalf of the Adult to almost any type of personal or health care decision (there are a few exceptions).  You can tailor this type of document to suit your personal needs, ie. appoint more than one Representative.

An Enhanced Representation Agreement DOES NOT contain financial powers.

ADVANCE DIRECTIVE
An Advance Directive is a document completed by you as a capable Adult which gives your consent or refusal of consent to life-supporting or life-ending treatments in advance, which would be used in the event you are unable to consent or refuse consent at the time.  In a way the Advance Directive is a progression from the idea of a living will, and is strictly a statement of your wishes.  There is no person appointed in this document to make decisions for you.  If you wish to appoint a specific person to make these decisions you should consider a Representation Agreement.

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING YOUR EXECUTOR, ATTORNEY & REPRESENTATIVE

*Are they trustworthy and dependable?
*Do they understand your values and beliefs?
*Have you clearly discussed your wishes with them?
*Do they reside close enough to be able to respond to issues on your behalf if needed?
*Would they have the time to honour the responsibilities they have been given when called upon?
*Should they be compensated for their time?

An Executor can be paid according to the Trustee Act of British Columbia

An Attorney or Representative can only paid if those instructions are contained in the document

A Representative cannot be compensated for making health care decisions

YOU WILL NEED TO PROVIDE ACCEPTABLE PHOTO IDENTIFICATION TO PROCEED WITH YOUR TRANSACTION.  CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

1.  Current Drivers Licence bearing your full legal name;
2.  Current BCID card bearing your full legal name;
3.  Current Passport.

We also require a second piece of identification.  We prefer your BC Care Card.

PLEASE BRING ALL ORIGINAL IDENTIFICATION FOR OUR MEETING.