While many often have extravagant plans as part of their new year’s resolutions, few take the new year as an opportunity to get their estate in order. However, leaving your will preparations untouched could put your loved ones in a stressful situation if anything were to happen to you. Dying without a will is called dying “intestate.”
We are making it one of our resolutions to encourage and help everyone get their assets, estate, and affairs organized so if the worse comes to worst, it will not turn into a legal nightmare. Estate planning doesn’t have to be difficult and with our help, you can feel confident about your will.
When it comes to estate planning and setting up a will, here are the steps we suggest you look into first.
Evaluate your relationships
The first thing that to do when considering your estate planning is creating a list of people you trust and think about the roles you want to appoint people to. Main roles to consider are: Executor and guardian.
Executor – Think about a person that deals well with bureaucracy and paperwork. This person will oversee reading your Will and following instructions you left there. This person will also be dealing with banks and institutions to close your accounts and settle your estate.
Guardian – If you have minor children, this will be the person to be responsible for them. Keep in mind, especially for teenagers, that this person will be making decisions and could be the ones living with your children or not. They could give permission for your child to be on an exchange program, for example. Just like you would, if you are alive.
Most often we consider guardian for minor children, but I always consider guardian for pets as well. I like to appoint a guardian for all pets in the Will, in case both owners die.
When it comes to estate planning and will preparations, one of the most important things to do is the naming of beneficiaries.
A beneficiary is a term given to the person who will receive a specific asset as part of your will. This could be something physical, such as a car or real estate property, something digital such as intellectual property, and sometimes a role such as the guardianship of children or business titles.
While it may seem simple, without having a valid will, the delegation of one’s assets can become complex and open a can of worms. The court will often get involved and personal relationships among the ones you left behind could be jeopardized.
To prevent this from happening, it’s a good idea to contact a notary specialized in Wills and Estate Planning.
Drawing up wills is an important part of estate planning. If you are in a marriage-like relationship (with the same person over 2 years), it would be a wise idea to prepare your wills together. This is because a person’s will can incorporate many important points. Spousal wills often (but not always) mirror each other.
In a will, you can define instructions such as the burial location and the settling of affairs, the naming of an executor who will carry out these instructions, the guardianship of your children, and the beneficiaries of your assets.
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is commonly mistaken as part of a will, but it is a completely different document. The power of attorney is a document in which someone names a person to oversee representing them for legal matters if unable to do so themselves while they are ALIVE.
At Zancope Notary Public, we offer real estate services for clients in Langley and throughout Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. We can help you with buying, selling, and refinancing real estate, and also provide family property transfers and independent legal advice. Our specialty is Wills and Estate Planning documents. We are a full-service firm with two notaries full time at the office.
If you have any questions about this article or estate planning, in general, or if you want to make an appointment with Zancope Notary Public, please contact us at (604) 260-6783.
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