WHY YOU NEED A WILL
Many people think that a Will is only for people who are old or people who have a lot of money. In fact, everyone should have a Will. It is the only way of being sure that your assets will go to the friends, relatives, and charities important to you. You can also use your Will to set up special trusts, name the people who will handle your estate, specify funeral arrangements, or appoint legal guardians for your children.
If you die without a Will, the government will specify who is to get your property and who will manages your estate. People you were hoping to remember with a special gift may end up getting nothing. On the other hand, someone you were planning to leave out of your Will (such as an estranged spouse) may receive everything you own.
Your Will can also make it easier on loved ones you leave behind. The estate of a person who dies without a Will can be frozen for a long time. A spouse or child who is in need of funds may not get anything for months, or even years. The delays and increased costs without a Will make it important for even the smallest estates to have a Will.
HOW WRIGHT LAW OFFICE CAN HELP
Wright Law Office has experienced lawyers who can give you the advice and assistance you need to plan your Will. We shall review your situation, discuss your wishes and make recommendations on the best way to structure your Will.
A Will must be properly drafted and signed in the correct manner in order to be valid. We make sure that the clauses in your Will are correctly drafted, so as to carry out your true wishes. You can also be confident that every Will signed at Wright Law Office satisfies all the legal requirements to be a valid Will.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN ADMINISTERING AN ESTATE
When someone dies, the assets and property they leave behind are referred to as the person’s “estate”. The person who takes care of distributing the estate is called an “executor”. To distribute the estate the executor needs to obtain a “Grant of Probate” from the Court.
The executor has many duties. These include attending to funeral arrangements, payment of outstanding debts, obtaining the death certificate, applying for a grant of probate, identifying all property in the estate, locating beneficiaries, notification of banks and insurance companies, preparation of tax returns and final distribution of the estate to all beneficiaries. In some cases the executor will also be in charge of administering any special trusts created by the Will. All expenses in administering the estate (including legal fees) are payable out of the estate. As an executor, you are also entitled to be compensated for the time and effort you expend. To obtain such compensation, you must prepare a detailed account of the work you did on the estate.
ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
An “Enduring Power of Attorney” allows you to prepare your affairs so that should you go into a coma or suffer from a degenerative (e.g. Parkinson’s disease) illness that affects your mental capacity you automatically appoint someone as your “attorney”.
You may be familiar with the term “Power of Attorney”. A “Power of Attorney” allows another person to act on your behalf. This person is called your “Attorney”, despite the fact that he/she is not necessarily a lawyer. A standard “Power of Attorney” is ineffective/invalid if you lose your mental capacity.
Most people get an Enduring Power of Attorney at the same time as they get their Will. The document is set up so that although it is prepared and signed now, it only takes effect should you lose your mental capacity and two doctors verify in writing that you are unable to look after your own affairs.
The same issues that apply to administering an estate apply to administering an Enduring Power of Attorney. In many cases you may want to have the experience of The Canada Trust Company as your “Attorney” or “Co-Attorney
HOW WRIGHT LAW OFFICE CAN HELP
As you can see, the administration of an estate can be a complex matter. Wright Law Office can help you every step of the way. We will inform you of your duties and responsibilities, handle all of the paperwork, and make sure nothing is forgotten. Should problems arise, we will give you expert advice on what to do. If any aspect of the Will is challenged in Court, we can represent you to make sure your rights are properly protected.
Our policy is to provide you with complete fee information before we start any legal work for you. For simple Wills and estates, we charge a flat rate. Our fees are set out in the price lists available at our office or here on our