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Its Time to Review your Estate Plan

Do you need a Will? No. 

As many as 50% of North Americans die without a Will.  If intestacy is your plan, you may stop reading now.

However, by preparing and signing basic estate planning documents you may rest assured that your wishes are upheld after your death and during your lifetime if you lost the ability to make your own decisions.

A basic estate plan consists of a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive, which all cover different scenarios. We strongly suggest that everyone should have at least these planning documents.

Your Will comes into effect after your death.  In your Will you will appoint an executor to administer your estate, and you will specify the distribution of your assets among named beneficiaries.  Among other things, your Will can also appoint guardians for your young children, create trusts for certain beneficiaries and provide instructions for the disposition of your remains. 

Your Enduring Power of Attorney is a document that appoints your financial decision maker (called an “Attorney”) if you are alive but have lost the ability to make your own financial decisions.  Your Enduring Power of Attorney may provide detailed instructions, directions and restrictions to your Attorneys relating to your assets and your financial management.

Your Personal Directive is a document that appoints your decision maker (called an “Agent”) if you are alive but have lost the ability to make decisions relating to your care, treatment, living arrangements and other personal matters.  Your Personal Directive may provide instructions about specific scenarios, such as whether you want to remain in your home and your wishes about whether or not to receive life support.

Legislation, common law and drafting practices change over time.  Even if you have already made a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive it is a good idea to have your documents reviewed periodically to make sure that they are up to date and meet current standards.  Call one of our lawyers if you are ready to start your estate planning or review/revise an existing plan.

Keep checking our blog for more detailed and specific posts relating to your Estate Planning.

The content of this post contains a mixture of summary information and opinion.  This post does not constitute legal advice.