When you are ready to draft your will, we take the time to review your situation so that we can create an estate plan that will work best for you, potentially saving your estate thousands of dollars.
Many of our will referrals come from financial advisors and other lawyers who know we have the experience and knowledge to adequately serve their clients. The lawyers at DNC Integra are frequently called upon to present to audiences on Estate Planning. We also work with individuals to make charitable gift arrangements and ensure the proceeds of their estates are prudently distributed.
We can also help you plan in the event of physical or mental challenges. A good estate plan includes Powers of Attorney, Representation Agreements and Advanced Directives.
Wills determine how your assets (known as an “Estate”) are distributed when you die. A will may be changed at any time while you have the required mental capacity. Your will appoints an “Executor” (and usually a backup executor) who is tasked with gathering information about your estate, paying off your debts with your money and distributing your assets according to your will.
Your will may include specific gifts or a statement of instructions on the distribution of your personal assets. You can name a guardian for children or specify burial plans in your will. If you want to make a gift to a child or disabled person or have your assets slowly distributed, you can appoint the executor or another person as a trustee.
If you plan to exclude or limit a spouse or child’s entitlement under a will, be aware that the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act allows your spouse or children to challenge your will. The lawyers at DNC Integra can offer legal advice on this challenging area of the law.
Prior to meeting a lawyer you may consider how you want your estate divided and ask a family member or close friend if they would serve as your executor. When meeting with one of the lawyers at DNC Integra we will require your executors’ names and addresses and the addresses of any beneficiaries who are not immediate family.
A Power of Attorney (POA) allows a family member or friend to conduct financial transactions for you while you are alive. The POA generally becomes effective as soon as you sign it, but you may wish to not make it available to your attorney until a specified time or event. Typically a broad POA is granted but we can also draft a more restrictive one.
If you ever become seriously injured or mentally incapable of handling your financial transactions, a POA allows your attorney to access your bank account, sell property or cash in your RRSPs. If you own property jointly with another person, a POA could permit the other individual to mortgage or sell the property should one of you become incapacitated.
To draft this document we require your proposed attorney’s (and alternates) name, address and birth date.
An Advanced Directive allows you to give or refuse consent in advance to certain types of medical treatments in the event that you are not capable of giving the instruction at the time the treatment is required. An AD is useful if you have strong beliefs or values about medical treatment (including end of life care, resuscitation, comas, artificial nourishment, blood transfusions, etc) and do not wish to delegate this authority to someone else under a Representation Agreement.
Advanced Directive Note: A doctor or another medical professional may provide you with information on various medical procedures or treatments.
Trust Agreements are used to help transfer assets outside of an estate and to avoid probate fees, delays with estates or potential problems created by the ways in which provincial legislation allows children to challenge a parent’s will. Trust agreements can also be used to protect vulnerable individuals from financial abuse or to preserve disability benefits.
Trust Agreements can also be drawn up while a person is alive or can form part of a will to protect a beneficiary’s inheritance.