Importance of Having a Will and Power of Attorney in Place

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Will and Testament PhotoWhether you are single, married, living common-law, widowed or whatever your circumstances may be, making or reviewing your Will should be at the top of your To-Do List. A Will outlines your various assets and how you would like to dispose of them when you die. If you have small children, having a Will is an absolute must, so that you get to choose their legal guardian. While it is not necessary for a lawyer to draft your Will, it is advised to retain one so that you receive the proper legal advice. If a Will is not in place, the courts will appoint an administrator for the estate upon your death, and it may end up being someone you would not have necessarily chosen. However you decide to prepare it, you can use your Will to lay out your wishes, so as to avoid arguments later amongst family members. It is also very important to ensure your family and executor(s) know where your Will is kept.

A Power of Attorney is normally prepared at the same time as the Will, and it allows you to assign financial and medical decisions to different individuals if you so choose. A Power of Attorney allows the individuals you appoint to make decisions for your finances and personal care if you become incapacitated and are not able to act on your own. Without a signed Power of Attorney in place, if you become incapacitated and are not in the mental or physical capacity to make decisions regarding your health care and finances, the Public Guardian and Trustee will be making these decisions for you and it would be very difficult to shift the authority to a person you trust.