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.
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
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.