Serving Coquitlam, Vancouver & Lynden, British Columbia
Almost everyone needs an estate plan. At Norton Law, we’re here to ensure you have the right documents at the right time to take care of any future contingency.
If you have a spouse or dependents, if you own property or a business, you need an estate plan.
An Estate plan, in many cases, refers to three main documents which we should all have:
- a Will;
- a Power of Attorney, and;
- a Personal Care Directive
A Power of Attorney and a Personal Care Directive are documents that operate during your lifetime while a Will takes effect upon death.
There are other documents and services we offer and that you may need depending on your particular situation, such as the setting up of a family trust or an estate freeze if you own a business and want to pass it along to family.
At Norton Law, we offer a broad range of services to help you with your estate plan.
Why do I need an estate plan?
An estate plan will usually save you money which is a pretty good reason all by itself. Another reason is to make sure that the people you care about are taken care of and that your property is available for your benefit and the benefit of your family.
An estate plan is not only about what happens on death. It may be more important to consider how to arrange your affairs now to achieve cost savings and convenience.
What do I need to do to start an estate plan?
An estate plan may be as simple as reviewing your overall financial situation and determining your objectives. What are those objectives? How can they be achieved? How do federal, provincial and other laws affect those objectives? It may also involve a will or changes to your will. It may involve other documents intended to achieve cost savings and convenience such as a power of attorney, a personal (medical) care directive, a trust or a deed.
What can happen if I don’t have an estate plan?
It is very important to protect your assets from excess taxation both before and after your death. RRSPs, RRIFs, and capital gains can create substantial tax liabilities but we can help you avoid needless taxes.
Your situation may be very simple and require very little to be done. But if you have a small business or farm, RRSPs or other assets, there can be significant tax consequences on death or disposition which may involve more detailed tax considerations.
Services Our Estate Planning Lawyers Offer
Personal Care Directive – A personal care directive ( also called a medical care directive) is an important document which allows you to express your personal care and medical treatment preferences in the event of your incapacity. It enables you to specifically choose a person you wish to make medical decisions for you in the event you can no longer do so for yourself. It sets out the kind of personal care decisions that your “delegate” ( the person you appoint under your medial care directive) can make for you during any periods, whether short term or long term, of incapacity. A personal care directive can also let you pre-determine the level of care you wish to have in the event that you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and are no longer able to give instructions to your healthcare professionals.
Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney is an essential document in the event you become unable due to mental incompetence to make important decisions about your financial affairs. You can also have prepared a limited Power of Attorney if you need to appoint someone to deal with a specific asset ( such as a house sale) during a period of absence. Powers of Attorney can vary in scope and limitations, depending on the type and specificity.
See how Norton Law can help you prepare a Power of Attorney to suit your personal needs.
Will – Also known as a Last Will & Testament, a will is a document which stipulates how you want your property and assets to be dealt with upon death. Wills deal with your assets and property but can also provide a guardian for minor children as well as a trust which will hold your assets for the benefit of your children until they attain the age of majority. See how our Wills Lawyers can help you.
Probate – After death, the appointed executor or personal representative must probate (prove) the Will in probate court. This process entails the named personal representative presenting the Will after death to be approved by the court to ensure all legal requirements have been met under the Wills Act. If granted, the court will issue a Grant of Probate, recognizing and certifying that it is the legitimate Last Will and Testament of the deceased individual. This allows the personal representative to deal with the distribution and transfer of the deceased’s estate. Learn more about how our probate lawyers can assist with this process.
Benefits of Estate Planning
An estate plan will usually pay for itself. Sometimes it results in thousands of dollars in savings from taxes and unplanned expenses.
The real costs arise when you do not have a plan with specific changes or documents in place that you need. There are many instances where family members are not protected:
- Where a property is subject to unnecessary taxes;
- Where needless and expensive litigation is required to set right what a little planning and forethought could have avoided. For example, the cost of a power of attorney is only a fraction of the cost of a court application for a guardianship application.
Whatever the cost of an estate plan, court battles are more costly, not only financially but emotionally.
Contact Norton Law for your Estate Planning Needs
At Norton Law, we have over 40 years of experience drafting and preparing wills and estates for our clients. Our team of lawyers understands the essentials and complexities that go into each individual’s wills and estate plans. We are here to ensure that your will is prepared with your personalized wishes and needs in mind.
If you wish to protect your estate, property and assets, call Norton Law at (855) 810-5286 to book a consultation with one of our family and estate lawyers at one of our offices in British Columbia.