An estate plan prepares you for the “what ifs” in your lifetime.
When you are well and capable, you can express your wishes to your family and friends. However, you may become incapable of making your own financial or medical decisions due to serious illness. If you die, your family would like to know what your wishes were. In Ontario, there are three legal documents you should have in place to deal with the unexpected.
1. A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property is to be used if you become incapable of managing your own affairs. Your “attorney for property” (attorney here doesn’t mean a lawyer), who is named in this document, is authorized to manage your finance, such as day-to-day banking, paying taxes and debts, managing your investments, and dealing with financial institutions and government offices.
2. A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is to be used if you become incapable of making your personal care decisions. Your “attorney for personal care” named in this document will make your personal care decisions on your behalf such as health care, housing, meals, clothing, and other aspects of your quality of life.
3. A Will is a legal document that sets out your wishes on the disposition of your assets after your death. In your Will, you appoint your Executor who will carry out your instructions on how your assets will be distributed.
Without proper documents, no one is legally authorized to step into your shoes to deal with your affairs and make decisions for you.
Ensuring Your Peace of Mind
If your wishes are clear, let’s have your intentions properly laid out in your documents so that you can leave your loved one with a clear roadmap and help them navigate through the difficult time.
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Nozomi (Zoe) Smith is a Wills and Estates Lawyer at Nakano Smith Law Group. She advises on all aspects of estate planning matters including Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Trusts. She also gives guidance to Executors, Attorneys, and Trustees to navigate through the administration of estates and trusts. You can reach Ms. Smith at (647) 913-4961 and [email protected]. This article is provided for information purposes only and is not legal advice and may not be relied upon.