While few of us relish the thought of our own mortality, creating a Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney can limit the amount of confusion and conflict which may arise when disaster strikes.
Last Will and Testament
A Will is a formal document stating how you intend your assets to be divided after your death. It also gives you the opportunity to name your ‘executor’ (estate trustee) who is the individual or group of individuals who will tend to your financial affairs after death. Your Will can also make special provisions for minors, disabled beneficiaries, or other unique beneficiaries.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a formal document stating who will make important decisions on your behalf in situations where you are living, but suffering from a physical or mental incapacity. In Ontario, there are two different Powers of Attorney which can be given. A Power of Attorney for Personal Care, and a Power of Attorney for Property.
In a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, you have the ability to designate the individual (or group of individuals) who will make important health care decisions for you while you are alive, but otherwise incapable. This person will have the ability to provide or withhold consent for you to undergo medical procedures.
In a Power of Attorney for Property, you have the ability to designate the individual (or group of individuals) who will manage your assets and debts while you are incapable. This person will have the ability to access your bank accounts, enter into contracts, and sell your items (where appropriate), while you are incapable.
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