Estate planning involves the planning for death and mental incapacity. Part of estate planning involves drafting proper legal documents such as a will, personal directive, and power of attorney. It also includes consideration of joint assets, beneficiary designations, gifts, and tax implications.
Bruni Law can help ensure you obtain control over your future personal and financial matters by drafting valid and enforceable documents while taking into consideration your unique circumstances.
Why is it important to have a will?
Many Canadians die without a will, leaving the law to determine how their assets and possessions (estate) are to be handled. Drafting a will allows one to deliberately choose how his or her estate will be dealt with upon death.
A properly drafted will allows you to:
Choose an appropriate personal representative (executor) to administer your estate
Distribute your assets to chosen beneficiaries
Determine how and when minor beneficiaries will receive distributions
Appoint suitable guardians for minor children
Arrange for trusts to provide for children with disabilities
Deal with unique assets or companies
Ensure dependants are looked after, reducing the chances of legal claims against the estate
What happens if you do not have a valid and enforceable will?
Dying without a will means you die “intestate.” No one will be appointed to administer your estate, and there will be no instruction as to the distribution of your estate. Someone will have to apply to the court to be appointed as your personal representative (executor). Distribution of your estate will be done according to the Wills and Succession Act. The Act sets out a schedule of family members who will inherit your property.
What are personal directives and enduring powers of attorney?
A personal directive and an enduring power of attorney allow you to plan for mental incapacity. Incapacity can happen for a number of reasons, including aging and dementia, illness, or a sudden accident.
A personal directive is a document that appoints someone else to look after your personal, non-financial matters such as health care and accommodation. This document allows you to choose in advance who that person will be in the event that you no longer have the capacity to make personal decisions. It takes effect when you are alive and only in the event that you lose the capacity to make such decisions.
An enduring power of attorney is a document that appoints someone else to look after your finances, such as dealing with property and investments, receiving income, paying bills and taxes, and handling debts. An enduring power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to deal with all or some of these financial affairs. It takes effect when you are alive and can be enacted immediately or in the event that you become incapable of making financial decisions.
What happens if you do not have a personal directive or an enduring power of attorney?
In the event that you become mentally incapacitated without these documents, family members or other interested parties may be required to apply to the court to be appointed as your decision-maker pursuant to the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act. Such a process can be lengthy and costly and can result in disagreements between family members as to who is best suited to be your decision-maker.
Bruni Law services include:
Drafting of wills, personal directives, and enduring powers of attorney
Creation of will trusts for dependants with disabilities
Reviewing and providing advice on will substitutes, including beneficiary designations, joint tenancy, and gifts
- Will: Single $500/Couple $700
- Power of attorney: Single $200/Couple $350
- Personal directive: Single $200/Couple $350
- Package (will, personal directive, and enduring power of attorney): Single $650/Couple $975
Prices exclude disbursements and GST.
Additional fees will be charged for complex matters or additional meetings.