Wilson Rasmussen LLP
When a person dies without a will, all of that person's property is distributed according to a formula fixed by law. Without a will, legal costs are increased. It can also lead to hard feelings. Finally you will have no say as to who will look after your affairs after you have gone.
Preparing a will is relatively inexpensive and not time consuming.
A personal directive is a legal document which gives instructions on major non-financial personal decisions if you cannot make your own decisions:
This is only available in some provinces.
This type of power of attorney is sometimes called "durable power of attorney" or "springing power of attorney" which "springs" to life when a certain event, specified in the power of attorney, has taken place.
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a trusted individual who will have authority to run your affairs while you are mentally incapacitated. If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, you will have no control over who becomes your trustee and your spouse and/or family may be forced to hire a lawyer to bring a Dependant Adult Application. There could also be a delay factor in appointing such a trustee which could be detrimental to your estate or business interest.
A simple definition of a trust is property given by a person called the donor or settlor, to a trustee, for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary or donee).
Trusts are either:
Type of trusts
When a person dies his estate must be administered and if a will is involved the will must go to probate.
Probate is the Court document which proves the will as the actual last will of the deceased, and confirms the executor.
If the estate is intestate (no will), then rather than probate (which is reserved for wills), the court will issue letters of administration to an administrator. If a will does not name an executor, or if the executor predeceases the testator, or if the named executor declines the position, someone will have to apply to the court as administrator to handle all probate issues.
The term "personal representative" includes executors (where a will names an executor) and administrators (where a person dies intestate, or an executor declines, and the court must name someone to administer the estate).
The office of personal representative is voluntary. Even if you are named in a will as executor, you can decline.
A personal representative has a number of duties:
Some assets do not have to go to probate, such as joint property and RRSPs or insurance policies with named beneficiaries. Property in these are transferred automatically on death.