17 February 2022
Important Components of Estate Planning
You have probably heard the phrase, “With a will, there’s a way…” As estate planners, we take that quite literally! Good planning now can help reduce probate fees, taxes and unintended anguish for your beneficiaries, friends and loved ones, after you are gone.
In previous weeks we talked about two of the fundamental elements for Estate Planning. There are two more important documents you should consider, for use during your lifetime:
- Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney appoints a trusted individual or individuals (often immediate family members) to act on your behalf for the management of your finances, property, and legal matters during your lifetime. An Enduring Power of Attorney can become effective as soon as you sign the document and your Attorney accepts their appointment, in writing. A Power of Attorney is effective for use during your lifetime until you revoke it. The document remains effective if there is ever a change in your capacity or ability to make decisions or perform administrative tasks. The authority granted by a Power of Attorney expires on the date you pass away.
- Representation Agreement for Healthcare
In British Columbia, documents that are often referred to in other jurisdictions as a Health Care Directive, Living Will, or Advance Directive, are covered by the Representation Agreement Act. A Representation Agreement gives another individual (or individuals) the authority to make important health care decisions for you, if you cannot make such decisions for yourself. A Representation Agreement can give your Representative limited or enhanced decision-making authority, depending on the form of agreement used. This authority can include power to deal with finances as they relate to your healthcare and general expenses, power to make decisions where there are options for a particular course of treatment, decisions about long-term care, and, ultimately, the authority to communicate your wishes to your healthcare providers about the level of medical attention you wish to receive if you are in a terminal condition, such as the decision whether or not you would wish to be resuscitated when heroic efforts would be required to do so.
- Enduring Power of Attorney
For any estate planning, whether for your Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, or Representation Agreement, it is best to consult with qualified professionals regarding your personal circumstances. A common “team” approach to estate planning will include your lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor.
If you would like to receive further information about estate planning with Watson Goepel, please reach out to our Wills & Estates team at 604.688.1301. We can also assist with probate and estate administration matters, if you are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Joe Fingerote is an Associate in the Business Law Group at Watson Goepel LLP.