Wills and Estates are something which everyone must consider and keep current. Here at Douglas Robertson LLP, we understand the importance of having these matters organized sooner rather than later.
Most people have heard of a Will, but did you know that simple estate plans are typically formed by three foundational documents? Many do not realize the importance of an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive.
Wills set out with how your assets are to be divided upon your death. They can further provide direction for guardianship of minor children, special needs dependents, funeral arrangements and management of death related expenses, among other things.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney sets out who will manage your property and financial affairs should you become incapacitated, or, depending on your wishes, prior to such an event occurring.
Personal Directives (AKA “Living Wills”) allow you to direct who will make important decisions with respect to your care should you be unable to make those determinations for yourself. They outline your wishes for matters such as the type of care you wish to receive or not receive and where you will live should you need more advanced care than can be provided in your home.
Why do they matter?
Often times, people do not consider unforeseen circumstances, accidents, sudden events or illness. But what happens if you become incapacitated and your wishes cannot be conveyed? Depending on your condition upon admission to the hospital your family members will be asked to complete a Personal Directive for medical staff to follow. Having these documents prepared will allow for your wishes to be followed by whomsoever you have elected, and avoids any additional stress on your family members in a time of crisis and any unfortunate disagreements.
Other benefits include:
- Guardianship of minor children;
- Provide for special needs dependents;
- Delaying or staggering an inheritance for beneficiaries through to a time when they may be more mature in handling financial matters;
- Division of your assets in accordance with your wishes, not a government imposed table;
- Maximize gifts through tax efficiencies;
- Manage small business owner related concerns;
- Avoid time consuming and costly legal and Court involvement for you and your loved ones in times of crisis.