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Wills and Estates

Planning your affairs in the best of times is not an easy task without qualified trusted advisors.  Planning when you’re indisposed or no longer here is obviously even more challenging.  We work with our clients to ensure their affairs are in order for their peace of mind and that of their loved ones.  We will also work with you to ensure you understand if there are any differences between what you want, and what current law supports.   At ConductLaw, we work with you to understand your life and business, and help you make practical plans that can stand the test of law.  Whether it’s minimizing estate taxes, making inter-vivos dispositions, or creating the right framework for personal attorneys, we’ve got you and your family covered.

 

Here are some things we can help with:

  • Wills and powers of attorney
  • Business and corporate Wills
  • Tax planning and family trusts
  • Reorganizing a business
  • Estate freezes
  • Estate Administration
  • Survivorship Applications
  • Business Succession Planning

Need an estate plan?

We’ve helped many clients achieve their goals and leave a lasting legacy. We can take you through the options that are just right for you and your family. Feel free to contact the Legal Professionals at ConductLaw to get started today.

Wills

A valid Will instructs your personal representatives at death on how to dispose of your assets. If you die without a Will, then someone must be appointed to act as the administrator of your estate and your assets are disposed of according to laws that likely will not satisfy your unique preferences.

There are many important considerations to make when contemplating your Will. Is it better to dispose of assets now or at death? Who are your dependants, ie., people you are legally obligated to provide for? Your married spouse is entitled to choose between any gift you leave and equalization under the Family Law Act.

A solid Will can be a complicated document but is an integral part of your estate plan. Before working with a lawyer, you should itemize your assets, liabilities, and insurance coverage, to understand what you need to deal with. Our team is happy to answer any specific questions you may have about Wills.

Powers of Attorney

Planning ahead is always a good idea. Many of our clients are older business owners with varied interests. Designating someone you trust to act in your place when you are not able to is always a good idea. If you do not plan for this and were ever to become incapable, the courts could impose someone else to manage your affairs.

There are two types of attorneys—one for your property, and one for your person. These attorneys have fiduciary responsibilities so must be able to account, act with reasonable care, and not conflict with your wishes.

Estate Administration

An estate trustee is your personal representative who Will work to carry out your final arrangements, manage your estate assets, pay creditors, and convey your bequests. Appointing an estate trustee is a straightforward process with serious implications. An estate trustee must abide by strict legal requirements in how your assets are consolidated, reported, and shared amongst beneficiaries. Mistakes can leave your estate and trustee vulnerable to financial liability.

At ConductLaw, we work with estate trustees to understand their obligations and help them act when they are unsure of what is required.

Continuing Power of Attorney for Property

An attorney for property can do anything for your property, except make a Will (s 7, Substitute Decisions Act). This is an important tool because it is not limited to times of physical or mental incapacity. A personal attorney for property can be convenient when you are absent and unable to attend to your affairs. It is also possible to give the power to multiple individuals. If you choose to do so, we can advise you on structures to help ensure decisions are made even where the attorneys have conflicting opinions on what should be done.

Note that attorneys for property are obligated to read your Will to ensure that their management of your property will not undermine your estate plans.

A grantor can place conditions on the time and circumstances under which a power of attorney is to be used. To grant a power of attorney, you should meet some basic criteria:

  • know the nature of property owned and its approximate value
  • be aware of obligations owed to dependants
  • know the attorney’s scope of powers
  • know that the attorney must account for dealing with the property
  • know that the power may be revoked if you are still capable
  • appreciate that the attorney could mismanage the property, leading to a decline in the value of assets
  • appreciate the possibility that an attorney could misuse the power given to him or her

Power of Attorney for Personal Care

The power of attorney for personal care gives a person the right to make decisions concerning your health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene and safety. Unlike attorneys for property, an attorney for personal care may only act once a grantor becomes incapable.

Once an attorney for personal care is in place, this person has priority over all others in determining what course of treatment should be taken. An attorney for personal care should be at least 16 years old. The grantor may revoke this power at anytime, provided that the grantor has capacity.

An attorney for personal care must be diligent and act in good faith when communicating with the incapable person.

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