Wills & Powers of Attorney

Estate planning is about protecting your loved ones. It does not have to be complicated. Having a Will may be the only way to ensure that your wishes are respected, and your family is properly looked after. Without a valid will in place, the law will dictate how your assets are distributed after your death. This could have an enduring and costly impact on your loved ones. For example, few people are aware that if you die without a will in Ontario:

  • your common law spouse inherits nothing;
  • your husband or wife may inherit the bulk of your estate, even if you are separated from them; and,
  • if you are legally married, your parents and extended family get nothing.

These results may seem reasonable for some families but could have devastating consequences for your loved ones depending on your unique situation.

You can also express your funeral and burial wishes in your will or name a guardian for your minor child.

Powers of Attorneys are another important part of estate planning. Unlike wills, a power of attorney is only valid while you are alive and ceases to be effective upon your death. If you do not have a power of attorney, a family member may have the right to make your health care decisions or apply to become your “guardian” of property. If there is no one able and willing to make these decisions for you, the government, through the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, may become involved.

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A will is a legal document by which you may determine how your estate is to be distributed after your death. In this instrument, you may also appoint executors to administer your estate, trustees to manage property over time, and guardians to look after minor children. Your will should always reflect your priorities and financial situation. For this reason, it is important to update your will after major life events such as having children, getting married or separating from your spouse.

Power of Attorney for Personal Care

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a legal document by which you may appoint a representative – an attorney – to make decisions about your personal care. This could include decisions about your medical treatment or whether you should move into a long-term care facility.

Powers of Attorney for Property

A Power of Attorney for Property is a legal document by which you may appoint someone to act on your behalf – an attorney – to manage your finances and property. You may appoint your attorney to do such things as banking, signing cheques, paying bills, and dealing with real estate. Your attorney may not, however, make or change your will. If you would like your power of attorney to come into effect if you are mentally incapable, your lawyer can prepare a Continuing Power of Attorney.

If you need guidance or legal assistance regarding any estate planning matter, our lawyers at Ferreira & Bettencourt LLP are here to help you. Our lawyers will assist you with all your estate planning needs and work with you to help you make informed decisions that protect your interest and the interest of your loved ones in the future.

You may contact Gisel Bettencourt or Bryan Carvalho for your estate planning needs .