Estate Planning Services
Estate planning is the process of planning for the distribution of your possessions in the event of incapacity of death. While it can be uncomfortable to talk about your own mortality, estate planning can provide peace of mind for both you and your family members. Preparing a personal will, appointing an executor, and arranging Power of Attorney agreements helps to reduce the stress of family members who will eventually be asked to make decisions on your behalf. By planning your estate, your decisions and health preferences can be carried out if you’re not able to act on your own.
Personal Will Preparation
The first step to preparing a personal will is gathering the information you’ll need. Here is a list of details you will need to plan your will.
- Your legal name and address, as well as any aliases you use
- The full name and address of the person you’d like to appoint as executor of your Will
- The full name and address of an alternate executor if your appointed executor is unable to act
- A detailed description of the personal property or lump sums of money you’d like to leave to beneficiaries
- Details on how you’d like the balance of your estate distributed
- Full name and addresses of all your beneficiaries
- A description of how you’d like your assets distributed if a beneficiary predeceases you
- If any beneficiaries are under 19 years of age, you will need the name and address of the person you are designating as guardian
- Any information relating to burial or cremation arrangements that you may have
Power of Attorney
Your Power of Attorney is the person chosen and appointed by you to manage your real estate and financial affairs in the event that you’re absent or incapacitated due to physical or mental health problems.
The person you choose can be your spouse, a friend, or family member. Choosing the right person(s) to make decisions on your behalf requires careful consideration and should be someone you know and trust who is 19 years or older, mentally capable, and understands the responsibility. As your Power of Attorney is legally able to make decisions on your behalf at the time of signing, you’ll want to know about the precautions available that prevent it from being exercised when you are able to make financial decisions yourself.
Representation agreements allow you to choose and appoint an individual to make important personal and health care decisions on your behalf. More thorough than the Power of Attorney agreement, this can be either a Standard Representation Agreement addressing matters of routine financial or health care decisions or an Enhanced Representation Agreement which includes making decisions about end of life care. You may decide to have more than one representative or to appoint a Monitor who ensures that your wishes are being carried out.
Your executor is the person who is carries out the instructions of your Will as you’ve had it prepared. An executor’s duties include seeing to funeral arrangements, proving the will, liquidating the estate, paying any debts and then distributing the assets as you’ve directed. As the role of executor can be time consuming and involve organizational skills, you should be sure to discuss this responsibility with the person to make sure they understand what’s being asked of them. They will need to keep proper records for a period of time to administer your will. Depending on the complexity, an executor is entitled to keep up to 5% of the gross value of the estate or you can stipulate the fee in advance.
Appointing an independent executor can help to alleviate the stress that sometimes arises when estates are administered. There may be disappointed family members, sibling rivalry or conflicting opinions about the financial decisions being made. This can make communication more difficult and slow down the process. If you don’t have family nearby or suspect that there may be possible conflicts of interest, Daryl Robbins offers independent executor services to clients in the Comox Valley
Probate is the term used to describe the process of proving the validity of the will and transferring legal title of estate assets to the beneficiaries. This proof is granted by the court via letters of probate. When an executor is not appointed to administer the estate, the court will appoint a representative. If no Will exists, the probate process determines who the legal heirs are. This can be a time consuming process as it can depend on the availability of court dates.
The probated Will is a legal document that can be enforced by the executor and is the first step in the administration of the estate. While the cost in British Columbia is not prohibiting, it can be avoided by considering other kinds of ownership in your estate plan. As a Notary I cannot prepare probate documents for clients, however I can take care of this service for you as your executor.
Once the documents of your estate planning have been made, our office can provide you with a safe place to keep them until they’re needed. The cost is less than a safe deposit box, and the documents can be accessed by you or your representatives upon request. Call our office for details. Daryl Robbins provides estate planning services to clients in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and Northern Vancouver Island.
For more information about the estate planning services available to individuals in the Comox Valley, please contact the Daryl Robbins team to learn how they can help you.