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End of Year Resolutions: Testamentary Planning

Anthea Law

End of Year Resolutions: Testamentary PlanningNow that 2017 is coming to a close, it is a good idea to take stock of what was accomplished in the past year and what still needs to be done. For many of us, a financial review of our assets and debts, or a review of our insurance policies, is often embarked upon. However, what is often overlooked is the concept of testamentary planning – planning for one’s own eventual demise and potential future incapacity.

Having a legally valid Will prepared by an experienced lawyer addresses some or all of the following:

  • appointing an Executor to deal with your affairs after your passing and file your terminal tax return, as well as any outstanding tax returns;
  • appointing a Guardian to take over the care of your children, if you pass away while they are still under the age of majority;
  • your instructions on how your want your personal effects dealt with after your passing;
  • whether you would like to leave any specific bequests of money to your family members, friends, and/or charities;
  • how you would like to distribute the residue of your estate – all to one person, or divided amongst different people, and in what proportions?
  • what your anti-lapse instructions are: who should be appointed if your first named Executor and Guardian predecease you, become incapacitated, or renounce the right to act? Who should receive a specific bequest or a portion of the residue of your estate if a named beneficiary predeceases you?
  • are there any debts owed to you that you would want to see collected by your Executor?
  • there are any advancements on a person’s inheritance that need to be taken into consideration?
  • whether you have any specific wishes concerning the disposition of your remains.

An Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive address the potential that we could become incapacitated one day, whether due to a disease (such as dementia), an illness or an injury. Just like a Will, an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive must be signed by you while you still have the capacity to do so.

An Enduring Power of Attorney addresses some or all of the following:

  • appointing an Attorney to make your financial decisions for you, if you are declared to be incapacitated in the future;
  • directing what powers your Attorney has to deal with your finances and your assets;
  • directing what types of investment powers your Attorney would have;
  • stating whether your Attorney is entitled to receive compensation for his or her time and effort.

A Personal Directive addresses some or all of the following:

  • appointing an Agent to make your personal and health care decisions for you, if you are declared to be incapacitated in the future;
  • stating what your wishes are with respect to certain end-of-life decisions;
  • stating whether you consent to be an organ donor pursuant to the Human Tissue and Organ Donation Act (Alberta).

If you already duly executed a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive, a good year-end resolution is to review your documents to ensure that the directions and instructions in same still conform to your wishes. If you need revisions or updates, then a call to your lawyer may be in order.

2018-04-05T15:03:09-06:00December 19th, 2017|

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