wills and powers of attorney

We would be pleased to draft your Will and/or Powers of Attorney.  We will listen to your needs, draft documents that reflect your wishes, and ensure those wishes are carried out.

Wills and Powers of Attorney provide assistance to those caring for you or your estate.   They are a gift you can give to help your loved ones while they are going through a difficult time.  

An up to date Will and Power of Attorney are particularly important if there has been a life change, such as a break down of a relationship or marriage.  It is recommended that following a separation, a new Will be prepared promptly.  

the process of preparing your will and powers of attorney

The process for your Will and Powers of Attorney at our office involves the following steps:

  1. You contact us to request an appointment to meet to prepare your Will and Powers of Attorney, and the appointment is arranged.  Email contact is best, but you can also call.  If you leave a message, we will call you back.
  2. You complete our Will Intake form which we provide to you once your appointment is booked.  
  3. You gather your asset and debt information, including your investments, life insurance and details on beneficiary designations, for provision to us at an initial meeting.  
  4. We have an initial meeting where we meet and discuss the details of your estate, including options for your assets, and receive your instructions regarding trustees and beneficiaries.
  5. Draft documents are sent to you by email in advance to review and prepare any questions prior to our final meeting. 
  6. A final signing meeting is arranged where we review and explain the documents, make any changes needed, and sign the documents. 
  7. You leave the meeting with your original Will and Powers of Attorney so they remain in your care and control.  We retain a copy.

why you need a will 

A Will is a legal document that sets out your wishes and instructions for your estate after your death. A Will needs to include at least one trustee, who administers your wishes, and a beneficiary. Beneficiaries can include charitable organizations.

"If you do not have a Will, immediately after your death no one is authorized to deal with important issues such as making funeral arrangements, handling your business or protecting your savings" (www.oba.org/makeawill).

To ensure your wishes are followed, it is essential to plan for your family.  Making a will and writing down your wishes and intentions can offer you and your family peace of mind.  

why you need powers of attorney

Powers of Attorney are documents that give someone else the ability to act on your behalf while you are still alive.  There are two main types of Powers of Attorney ("POA") - POA for property and POA for personal care.  In the event you are no longer capable to act on your own behalf due to incapacity, your appointed attorney will manage your financial affairs and make health decisions for your benefit.  Before someone can act as your POA, you need to be declared incapable of managing your own affairs, or voluntarily grant them the authority to act on your behalf while you are still capable.  As long as you have capacity, you can change or revoke your POA and Will.

Power of Attorney for Health Care and decision making

If you do not have a Power of Attorney for health care you could end up being represented by someone who does not know your health care wishes or needs.  Section 20 (1) of the Health Care Consent Act sets out the following hierarchy of Substitute Decision Makers:

  1. Guardian
  2. POA for Personal Care
  3. Representative appointed by the Consent and Capacity Board
  4. Spouse or partner
  5. Child or parent or Child Protection agency (person with right of custody)
  6. Parent with right of access
  7. Brother or sister
  8. Any other relative
  9. Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (list adopted from Advance Care Planning Waterloo Wellington).

Having a POA for Personal Care helps ensure that the person you want making your health care decisions is in fact the person who does it.  

If you are looking for more information about Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and details on advanced care planning and health care consent, there are many online resources you can explore.  You should in particular visit the Advance Care Planning Waterloo Wellington website which contains helpful check lists and ideas on what needs to be discussed when doing health care planning.  This is particularly important for those who may be going through significant health issues.  

Another wonderful resource to help with these discussions and communicating your care wishes and making sure those are carried out is the Speak Up website at www.advancecareplanning.ca.  There is helpful booklet that walks you through how to begin the conversation, answers common questions, and creates a check list you can go through to answer important questions regarding your health care needs.  

The Ministry of the Attorney General provides a useful Power of Attorney kit which you can use instead of meeting with a lawyer, or to help you gather information before your meeting.  You can view this website by clicking here.

Although you can proceed on your own, lawyers will ensure all the documentation is prepared correctly and accurately reflects your wishes.  There are many things that standard forms may not get you to consider and you do not want to be in a situation with conflicting instructions.

Please email or call us to discuss your Will or POA further.

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