Have you recently experienced a major life change that’s made the future feel extra important? Whether you’re expecting a new addition to the family, have recently married, or have experienced a loss in the family, there are countless reasons the handling of your estate may come to mind. Though it might be a little unpleasant to imagine leaving those we love behind, ensuring your estate is handled once you pass is one of the biggest gifts you can give to those who matter most. Having the right plan(s) in place helps to create a smooth transition for everyone during a trying time, and makes it easier to guarantee your final wishes are upheld.
At Paperclip Law, we understand that estate planning can be overwhelming without the proper help by your side. Since 2011 we’ve been proudly partnering with our clients in the Greater Vancouver and Squamish BC regions to handle personal and corporate legal matters, including dealing with estate law. If you’re looking to get started with estate planning, but are unsure of where to begin, our team of experts is here to help. Below are five things you need to cover when estate planning.
Wills Vs Estate
If you’ve never taken a closer look at estate law, you may find the distinction between “Wills” and “estates” confusing. While a Will is an official document that details the handling of your estate, your estate itself refers to your personal property and assets including property, shares in private and public companies, cash, clothing, jewelry, automobiles, land, retirement funds, investment holdings, savings accounts and more. Because of the sheer amount of details involved, having your estate in order prior to passing ensures that every resource is properly allocated as you wish and your family isn’t left scrambling to fill in any gaps.
With that in mind, the five variables you need to consider are:
1. Who Will Be Your Executor?
Choosing an executor is one of the most integral parts of finalizing your estate. An executor is responsible for carrying out your wishes as dictated by your Will, and the role comes with quite a bit of authority. The executor has the ability to make overriding decisions when it comes to funeral arrangements, organizing what you own and owe, managing your business and instructing professionals who handle your assets (lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, etc.). As such, it’s vital to choose someone you trust fully, and whom you know will always uphold the best interests of those you love.
2. Do You Need to Choose Guardians?
Within the Province of British Columbia, a Will is the only legal document that allows you to choose a guardian for children under 19 that you currently have custody and guardianship of. If you currently share custody and guardianship, the other parent will assume guardianship, but in instances where on parent has sole custody, a designated guardian should be chosen.
3. The “Family Disaster Clause”
While such clauses are very rarely enacted, it’s worthwhile to have a stipulation in your will outlining your wishes should you, along with your entire immediate family perish in an accident or unexpected happenstance. Even if you have no further family members to pass things on, you can opt to support charities, establish funds, and do any number of acts of goodwill in such a scenario.
4. What is “Power of Attorney”?
Power of Attorney, is an extremely important role when it comes to safeguarding your estate. In essence, someone who you have granted Power of Attorney to has the authority to act on your behalf while you are still alive but unable to because of medical, mental or physical challenges, in private affairs, business, or other legal matters.
5. What is a Representative for Health Care?
Similar to above, a representative for healthcare is an individual with the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf while you are still alive, but otherwise incapacitated or unable to communicate your wishes. This is extremely important for both the individuals as well as their family, as it ensures there is someone there to act fully with your best interests, as well as your will in mind when you are unable to do so.
Paperclip Law Is Here to Help
If you or someone you love is in need of assistance when it comes to estate planning, probate law, or other legal services where personal and property matters are concerned, our team is here to help. Since 2011, we’ve built a name as a Vancouver firm that believes in redefining the relationship between clients and their lawyers. We’re here to help you find the answers you need, offering guidance, support, and expertise you can trust along the way. Contact us today to learn more.