Planning for the possibility of your mental incapacity and the inevitability of death is not an easy task. There are many things to consider and questions to be answered – how would you like your assets to be distributed, who will make decisions about your personal care if you are not able to do so, how will you ensure your wishes will be honoured? Do you even need a will?
My services in relation to wills, trusts, probate and powers of attorney can help you navigate these sometimes complex areas and avoid future legal disputes. And in answer to the last question above – the chances are, if you are an adult with a spouse or a child and/or property you and your loved ones will benefit from you having a will.
You may be tempted to address your concerns with a quick fix such as a prepared stationer’s form or will kit or even handwriting your own will, but while these routes may save you a few dollars and a little time, they could create serious, costly legal problems in the future:
- A handwritten, or ‘holograph’ will is enforceable in Ontario, but it is very risky. If it does not meet specific requirements it may not be effective and could be worse than no will at all;
- Even if you complete a will kit accurately, you may not be aware of legislative requirements that could impact the distribution of your assets. Ignoring these obligations could result in expensive legal and court costs. You may also miss out on the opportunity to reduce taxes and probate fees;
- Leaving your decision making to the wrong person through a poorly drafted or invalid power of attorney can have dire consequences. The duties of an attorney who has been given authority to make decisions, either in the case of personal care or in the case of property, should not be undertaken lightly. There is much potential for abuse.
It really is too important to take the chances involved in not seeking professional advice.
A professional will advise you as to tax savings, probate fees, the avoidance of issues such as family property disputes, and can ensure that the documents that are created are valid. I can also assist you in understanding how planned giving can allow you to support a cause that you are passionate about and help you determine whether it is the right option for you.
If you’d like to take a preventative approach to your legal affairs, contact me. I want to help you.
Take a look these legal resources to find out more about the issues you may want to discuss with me.