April 19, 2016

Planning Ahead For Your Winter Vacation: Wills & Estates Edition

The air is chilly, the snow is falling, and Calgarians are planning their winter getaways.

Impending trips and plane rides are natural catalysts that get clients thinking about Estate Planning.

What is Estate Planning? Among other things, it includes preparing documents that set out your wishes in matters relating to health care and financial decisions, in the event you are unable to make decisions on your own, as well as your wishes regarding the distribution of your property when you pass away.

The Personal Directive (a document relating to your health care decisions) and the Enduring Power of Attorney (a document relating to your financial decisions) take effect while you are still alive but are unable to make your own decisions. If you are going to live abroad for a period of time and want to allow someone else to take care of your finances while you are away, you can also prepare an Immediate Power of Attorney, appointing your spouse, parents or siblings to pay your bills for the specific situations/periods of time set out in that document.

A Will sets out your final wishes relating to the distribution of your property, which is especially important if you have dependants (such as a spouse or minor children), want to make specific bequests, or own your own business and require succession planning. A Will ensures that your final wishes are spelled out and administered accordingly.

While Estate Planning documents are a good ‘to do’ on your vacation planning checklist, don’t wait until you’re counting the days to your departure – on top of all other vacation arrangements you’ll be making, you’ll be in a rush to get the documents in order and may miss some important ‘big picture’ planning. You’ll also be looking at increased legal costs for expediting your documents. Rather, set some time aside and go through the ‘what if’ questions with your spouse and other family members, without the pressure of a departure date looming.

Our Wills & Estates Questionnaires can help to serve as a springboard for discussions and our Wills & Estates Group can assist you with understanding the new Wills & Succession Act and the preparation of these documents. Contact our Wills & Estates Group for further information or to book an appointment to discuss your Estate Planning needs.