WILLS AND ESTATES
A well thought out estate plan is essential to ensure that there is an orderly distribution of a persons assets at the date of their passing. It should come as little surprise that the government passed legislation long ago to address estate matters. The legislation differentiates between an individual passing away intestate (without a will) and testate (with a will). In the case of the former, the legislature has created a legislated set of rules for the distribution of a person's assets upon their passing. Obviously, such a distribution may not be what the deceased intended nor wished. This emphasizes one of the more important reasons why it is imperative that individuals take the time to meet with a legal professional and to clearly articulate what their wishes are upon their passing.
There are many topics that an individual ought to seriously consider and the experienced lawyers at Sheppard & Gervais are here to provided that legal advice on all of the relevant considerations. The applicable topics vary from individual to individual as the will ought to be drafted to address the specific needs of the individual. We will make detailed inquiries of the individual to ensure that all relevant considerations are addressed including, but not limited to issues arising from domestic contracts, whether there are dependents and many considerations unique to the individual.
One topic that must be addressed by the lawyer which is common to all individuals is the issue of who the individual wishes to appoint as the executor of their estate. An executor is a person who has the authority to carry out an individual's wishes as provided for in the balance of the will. This position can be onerous. It is often advisable to appoint an alternative person to act as the executor should first person predecease the individual whom the will is for (the testator). This decision is crucial.
In addition to necessity to have a well drafted will it is equally important to have proper, up-to-date Powers of Attorney. Powers of Attorney are documents that appoint an individual(s) to make decisions for the grantor should they be unable to make their own decisions. Proper planning is key!