Wills & Estates
Careful Estate planning often requires collaboration between your lawyer, accountant and financial advisers, Your lawyer can work with you and your family to achieve the optimal plan for your Estate.
Updating Your Will
There are a number of circumstances which might warrant a review and possible revision of your will and estate plan. Although a carefully drafted will should contemplate the possible death of a beneficiary or estate trustee, the death of an estate trustee or of a principal beneficiary might justify redrafting the will. Furthermore, although the choice of estate trustee may have seemed advisable when the will was drafted, if circumstances change, either because of the relocation of the proposed estate trustee or the declining health of the proposed estate trustee, it might be advisable to draft a new will with a new estate trustee.
In Ontario, marriage revokes a Will unless certain preconditions are met. On the other hand, a divorce does not have the same effect. Similarly, a separation warrants a review of your will and estate plan. Also, where tax planning has formed a significant factor in the structure of your estate plan, a periodic review of the estate plan in light of changing tax rules is advisable, as the rules with respect to capital gains, tax free transfers, exemptions, preferred beneficiaries, etc. change frequently.
Powers of Attorney
The Ontario Substitute Decisions Act (1994) created two types of powers of attorney. A Power of Attorney for Property (also known as a General Power of Attorney) will enable the person designated in the power of attorney to look after your financial affairs including bank accounts, investments, real estate, other property, etc., subject to any restrictions that you elect to include in the power of attorney. The powers conferred by the power of attorney may be exercised at any time, but are generally intended to enable the designated person to administer your affairs during any subsequent incapacity, although a power of attorney is frequently used to enable someone to deal with your affairs while you are travelling or otherwise unavailable.
The second type of power of attorney is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. This enables the designated person to make decisions regarding care and medical treatment when you are unable to do so due to incapacity.
Although the Substitute Decisions Act enables a court to appoint a guardian for property or for personal care, it is not necessary to apply to the court for such purpose if an attorney has been designated under a power of attorney. If there is a dispute, your power of attorney is clear guidance to the court of your preferences regarding the choice of guardian of your care and property.
The Substitute Decisions Act also provides for the appointment of the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee as guardian for property or for personal care if there is no other suitable candidate. This can generally be avoided by executing powers of attorney.
Our law offices are conveniently located in Cornwall, Ontario and we have plenty of free parking.