Education - Wills

Wills

1.      What is a will?
A will is a legal document that allows you to divide and distribute your assets according to your wishes. If you die without a will (intestate), the courts will appoint an administrator to dispose of your assets according to a rigid legal formula. In other words, the law decides how and who will receive your assets regardless of your wishes or the needs of your family. That is why a will is so important.

2.      Who needs a will?
Do you…

    • Have a spouse or common-law spouse?
    • Have any children?
    • Have any investments?
    • Wish to give money to a friend or charity?
    • Own a home or business?
    • Wish to pass along family possessions or heirlooms?

Of course, you may have other reasons for requiring a will and your personal situation will determine this decision.

3.      What is an executor?
The executor is the person(s) or trust company you appoint to carry out your wishes and settle your estate. Duties may include making funeral arrangements, managing investments, paying any taxes and debts owing, filing tax returns and making distributions to beneficiaries. The duties of an executor are not to be taken lightly.

4.      What is a guardian?
A guardian is the person you appoint in your will to raise your minor children. If no guardian is named in your will, the courts will select a guardian on your behalf.

5.      What is a Power of Attorney and why would I require one?
It is now becoming common practice to have a Power of Attorney for Property prepared at the same time you have a will prepared. This means that you can appoint someone to manage your financial affairs in the event that you are unable to. You may also appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf respecting your personal care and consent to treatment if you are unable to do so. This is known as the Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Both Powers of Attorneys may be revoked at any time as long as you have the requisite mental capacity.

6.      What is a "living will"?
A "living will" is a term commonly used to describe a document which expresses an individual's desires and directives regarding medical treatment when that individual is in a terminal state. Often the living will prohibits life support systems that may prolong life artificially.

Note:  The content herein is not intended to provide specific tax advice and should not be relied upon in this regard.  Please consult your tax advisor to find out which strategies best suit your tax situation. The Energy Credit Union Limited makes no guarantee, representation, or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to the tax treatment of those services.