A ‘will’ as well as a ‘power of attorney’ are key elements to any estate plan. Having everything set out in legal documents avoids any confusion.
A will is a document outlining where any/all of your assets will go once you die. An executor is chosen (by you) and is left in charge to ensure that assets are divided the way you have requested. A will can also be used to name a guardian for your minor child (ren) after your passing. Without a will, the provincial government will be the one to decide how your assets will get divided, and who will inherit them. In most cases, this will result in additional legal fees for your estate, resulting in less for your beneficiaries. The will is always signed in front of, and by witnesses as a seal of “authenticity”.
A power of attorney for finance, is a document used to authorize someone else to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney for health, is used for making medical decisions should you become mentally or physically unable to make them yourself. The amount of power left to an attorney can be outlined in your POA and all/any conditions are made by you. The power of attorney is also signed in front of, and by witnesses, and is recommended to be notarized.
It is recommended that wills and powers of attorneys are drafted through a lawyer especially in more complex situations. The above content should only be used in very basic situations and should be witnessed by persons that are unrelated and not named as beneficiaries, executors, or powers of attorneys.
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