At Hill and Hill Law, our experienced lawyers provide you with consultations regarding wills and expert guidance on the intricacies of wills. To begin with, a will is a written legal document used upon your death to communicate your desires. Your will should contain directions regarding the distribution of your property. A will does not come into play until the testator (the person who made the will) has deceased. Because a deceased person cannot give directions, the will acts as a voice and legal declaration to provide clarity on how assets are managed.
A word to the wise, every adult should have a will. Ask yourself this: If you and your spouse or partner got in a car accident right now and passed away, who would take care of the following:
Securities and investments
Your personal belongings
Without a will the decision of a guardian for your children is out of your control. Without a will the decision of who manages your valuable property is also out of your control. If a person dies intestate (without a will), the Wills and Succession Act will dictate how your property is distributed. The Wills and Succession Act could very well divide your estate in an unfavourable manner. For information concerning how your property will be divided without a will, please contact our lawyers who specialize in wills.
The making of a new will revokes any previous will made. A will should name a Personal Representative (also known as an executor). Upon one’s death, your Personal Representative makes important decisions regarding your estate. For this reason, your Personal Representative should be someone you trust, and someone who knows your wishes. Rather than leave it up to the Wills and Succession Act to appoint a Personal Representative, you can make this designation in your will. Another important designation is who your guardian should be. If you die intestate with children, then a guardian would need to be appointed by a court. You, and only you, should appoint a guardian of your children. The only way to ensure your preferred guardian is by drafting a valid will.
The wills drafted by our lawyers are printed, confirmed with a signature by the testator and two witnesses, and then maintained in a fire-proof safe. Hill and Hill Law can make a copy of your will for your reference. We also save an unsigned copy in our office database in the event you would like to amend your will at a future time. If our wills and estates lawyer drafts your will, and you would like the original, then you can keep the original.
A personal directive is a legal document that is used to communicate the desires of an incapacitated person. It is often referred to as a Living Will. Where a will dictates what occurs upon one’s death, a personal directive dictates what occurs upon the incapacitation of a person. Of course, if you become seriously ill or injured, you will need a person to manage your non-financial affairs.
The law that governs a personal directive is the Personal Directives Act. Under this act, a personal directive states an appointed agent to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person. Incapacitation occurs when a person lacks the ability to understand relevant information in making personal decisions for him or herself. It also occurs when the person is unable to appreciate a reasonably foreseeable consequence of their decisions. A personal directive should include predetermined decisions regarding actions to take when the maker of the personal directive is in a coma, a persistent vegetative state, or having traumatic brain issues.
When writing a personal directive, you specify who you want to be in charge of making those personal decisions on your behalf. You specify when a personal directive takes effect, and state your wishes for your agent to follow. Some examples of matters that your agent would make decisions in include
Participation in social and educational activities
Other personal, non-financial matters
If you do not have a personal directive, and become incapacitated, then your loved one will have to make a court application. This is expensive and may take several months. There are alternatives for emergency situations.
An enduring power of attorney, like a personal directive, is used when a person is alive but unable to make competent decisions. For this purpose, the incapacitated person appoints someone they trust (called their attorney) to take care of all their financial affairs. A few examples of some rights and responsibilities the attorney will have are:
Filing tax returns
Dealing with Canada Revenue Agency
Giving gifts to family members
Managing bank accounts
Selling, mortgaging, or leasing any real property
Running your business
Without an enduring power of attorney, an incapacitated person’s family or friend would be faced with having to make a court application requesting a declaration of an attorney. This application is expensive and time-consuming. In order to make a power of attorney, you will need to let our lawyer know who you will appoint. An enduring power of attorney, personal directive, and will are three separate documents. Our power of attorney lawyers can draft your will, personal directive, and enduring power of attorney all at once.
If you live in Medicine Hat, Brooks, Dunmore, Redcliff, or the surrounding area, please contact us now for a free consultation. If you get all three documents drafted at once, you will get a discounted price. Also, if you and your spouse or partner get your wills completed at the same time, you will get a further discount.