Gord Howorth provides legal assistance with preparing your last will and testament. There are formal steps to be taken to make a valid will. It is important that we go through your personal situation in some detail to make sure that no rules or laws will have a negative impact on your property passing to the loved ones or charities you have chosen. For persons on second or subsequent marriages or common law relationships, or couples with children from prior relationships, care must be taken to create the proper documents due to family law rules
Many people have special situations that require special care in estate planning. That is especially true of people who run their business through one or more corporations, or people in common law relationships, or people in second or subsequent marriages, or couples with children from former relationships, or people with special needs children. There are legal techniques that can help you ensure that your property passes to the people who you want to benefit. Links to the Manitoba Probate Calculator and Manitoba Rule 74AA With Information For Personal Representatives and Beneficiaries.
Powers of Attorney
Most people will probably decide to have a Power of Attorney prepared when they have their will prepared. A properly prepared Power of Attorney gives another person the authority to make financial decisions for you even after you have suffered an event of incapacity (such as stroke or dementia). The person named has the responsibility to use your assets only for your benefit. The Power of Attorney would stop being effective upon your death or when you revoke it.
A trust can be a very valuable tool in providing financial assistance for a special needs person or for a person who has not been able to effectively manage their own money. Trusts are also used to hold money being given to minor children or in other special circumstances. Sometimes it is appropriate to work with you and your accountant to use one or more trusts for tax planning.
Health Care Directive
When clients come to my office to prepare a will or power of attorney, I suggest that they consider filling out a Health Care Directive (also known as a Living Will) which is provided free of charge or you can print it from the Provincial website. The Health Care Directive names another person or persons to make health care decisions for you when you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself.
Upon the death of a person, it is often necessary to apply for grant of probate (if there is a valid will) or letters of administration to properly distribute the assets of the deceased. On other occasions it may be possible to avoid these steps in specific circumstances. The decision should be made after we discuss the particular facts and laws which apply in the case of the estate that you will be looking after.