Wills & Estates
Amicus Law & Mediation helps you prepare for the future and ensure your wishes will be followed should you not be able to speak for yourself. Visit our office for help with the following:
- Will planning;
- Power of attorney; and
- Obtaining Letters of Administration or Letters Probate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Power of Attorney?
By definition, a power of attorney is a written document whereby one person, as principal, appoints another person as his agent (also known as "the attorney") to perform certain specified acts on behalf of the principal.
When is a power of attorney effective?
A power of attorney is effective upon execution of the document. However, the attorney is unable to actually use the document until he is in posession of the original power of attorney document. Most commonly, a power of attorney ceases to be effective when it is revoked by the principal or when the principal dies. There are also several other scenarios where a power of attorney will cease to be effective.
Do I need a power of attorney?
Whether or not you need a power of attorney is a personal decision that only you should make. You should never make a power of attorney simply because you are being pressured to do so. It is a very powerful document and can leave you in a vulnerable situation if you trust the wrong person to be your attorney.
The benefits to having a power of attorney include:
- In the event that you become unable to act on your own behalf, you will have already selected ahead of time the person who you trust to make decisions for you.
- It avoids the cost of your family having to apply to the court to form a Committee of the Person to look after your personal care and your financial affairs in the event that you become incompetent.
- It allows your attorney to talk to organizations that you may need to deal with on your behalf.
- It allows your attorney to sign legal documents on your behalf.
What is a Will? Is it the same thing as a Last Will and Testament?
A Will (also known as a "Last Will and Testament") is a written document where a person dispoeses of his real and personal property. The person making the Will is known as the testator. The provisions of a will take effect on the death of the testator.
Do I have to have a Will?
As with the decision to make a power of attorney, the decision to make a Will is a personal decision that only you can make. However, there are definite advantages to making a Last Will and Testament which include:
- The testator has the ability to choose an executor (this is the person who will administer the directions contained in the will). If a person dies without a Will, someone in their family will have to apply to the court to become administrator of your estate. Provincial legislation dictates who has the right to apply to be an administrator where a person dies without a Will.
- The testator has the abililty to choose how his real and personal property are disposed of upon his death. Where a person dies without a Will, his real and personal property is distributed in accordance with Provincial legislation.
- Where the testator has minor children, he can appoint a guardian for his children.
Do I need to bring anything with me for my appointment to do a Will or Power of Attorney?
At a minimum, you need to bring at least two pieces of acceptable identification. At least one piece of identification should be issued by the Provincial Government or by the Federal Government and should contain a photo. Any identification provided as proof of your identity should be unexpired.
It would be helpful, though not necessary, for you to bring in the account numbers for pension plans, policies of life insurance, and bank accounts, if you have any.
If you have a cohabitation agreement, marriage contract, or separation agreement, please bring that in as well.