What is estate planning?
Estate planning is organizing yourself and your affairs, and documenting your intentions, so that your wishes are made known, and your people can properly help carry those wishes out.
What documents do I need?
Do I need to do estate planning?
It depends on how smoothly you want things to go for you and your family.
Did you know that your spouse, children or other family members don’t have an automatic right to sign for you, or to arrange your affairs if you become sick?
Without proper planning, you may find yourself in a situation where your assets are frozen and your family is unable to help unless they go off to court to have you declared incapable. That’s not really something you want to put yourself or your family through.
But my family knows what I want – isn’t that enough?
No. It’s not.
It’s not possible to tell from the outside who the “right” people in your family are. So you have to appoint them. Even if it seems obvious who those people should be to you.
Here’s a simple example:
You might think your spouse should be able to speak for you. Seems reasonable, right? If you have been married for a long time, your spouse probably knows exactly what you want.
But what happens when your spouse is experiencing mental or physical difficulties right along with you, and therefore isn’t able to speak for you, or make great decisions?
What happens when you’re on your third or fourth spouse whom your kids from a previous relationship absolutely hate?
What happens when you’re not actually married, but someone shows up and says they’re your common-law spouse?
What happens when you’re separated from your spouse, but not yet divorced?
Sadly, because families change over time, the only way we can tell who should be looking after you and speaking for you is because you have appointed them in the appropriate way.
Can I do this myself?
There are resources available for you to use if you choose to make your estate planning documents yourself.
However, if you don’t use the right documents, or you fill them out incorrectly, then the documents could be invalid, or confusing.
Our job isn’t just filling out forms, though. It’s to make sure you understand how these documents work together, and you know what they do, and don’t do.
It’s ensuring that we help you make these appointments in a way that matches your legal capacity. It’s making sure you aren’t being talked into doing something you didn’t want to do. It’s making sure there are no “suspicious circumstances” surrounding your estate plan.
Call us for an appointment with a BC Notary or lawyer today.