A will is a legal document that states how you want your estate distributed after death. You are not legally required to prepare a will. However, if you do not have a will, provincial legislation will determine how your estate is divided.
1. Estate representative
An estate representative follows the instructions you left in your will and administers your estate accordingly after your death. An estate representative may also be called an executor, estate trustee or a liquidator, although legally speaking, the terms are distinct. You can name more than one person such as a family member or a financial professional, as your estate representative. If you do not name an estate representative or have no will, the provincial court will name someone to manage your estate.
There are many kinds of trusts. A trust is managed by the trustee and is created to hold property or assets for the beneficiary.
Before administering an estate, many financial institutions will require you to have the will probated. Probate is a procedure to ask the court to:
give a person the authority to act as the estate trustee of an estate; or
confirm the authority of a person named as the estate trustee in the deceased’s will
formally approve that the deceased’s will is their valid last will.
The cost of probate varies across provinces and according to the size of the estate.
4. Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives the attorney(s) the authority to manage your money and property for you. A Power of Attorney provides the attorney with complete access to your finances, including banking, signing cheques, buying or selling real estate and obtaining loans on your behalf.
Be informed and obtain proper legal advice on all the risks and benefits of a Power of Attorney document. Our estate lawyer can also advise you on whether a court application is necessary and be your advisor when your application is challenged or when a claim against the estate is made.
Some common wills and estates issues the firm can help you with include