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Wills & Estates

Understanding the importance of a Power of Attorney or "Living Will"

Wills and estates law Edmonton lawyer for Power of Attorney for health or property, Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive, plus estate planning legal advice and help by top solicitor for wills, estates and trusts. Most people assume that they will be in full control of their lives right up to the point that they die. Or they assume that death will come very quickly. But this is often not the case.

There may be a period, extending over several months or even years, when you are alive but are no longer willing or able to make important decisions about your life. This is why it is so important to speak with Edmonton estates lawyer Jonathan Healey about the set up of a Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, also known as Living Wills.

A Power of Attorney for Property specifies who will make decisions about your property while a Power of Attorney for Personal Care specifies who will make decisions about your healthcare. The individual given this responsibility should be a person you trust to make decisions that are in your best interest. They are often family members, but not always. They should be chosen while you have a clear mind and they should understand your wishes. For example, they should know what assets should be sold to fund your healthcare, if necessary, and they should know your wishes in terms of life support and resuscitation.

No Power of Personal Care?

If you are incapacitated and don’t have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, relatives and family members do not have the legal right to take control of your care. Medical staff at the care facility have that right, but they typically don’t take any action until they have consulted with family members. The problem is that family members may have very different ideas about what to do, leading to significant stress and bad feelings – one more reason why it is so important to have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.

Complete or limited Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney can have certain limitations. You also have the option of instructing that they take effect the moment they are signed or when you become incapacitated.

Healey Law has extensive experience developing limited and unlimited Powers of Attorney for Property and Personal Care. See what’s right for you by requesting your free, no-obligation introductory consultation today.

See how much you know about estate planning by taking this quick quiz

Click each question below to reveal the answer. If you get more than one question wrong, it’s time to get some guidance from Edmonton lawyer Jonathan Healey on estate planning law in Alberta.

  1. What happens if there are some provisions in your Will for your spouse, but you divorce that spouse prior to your death?
    A: The provisions become invalid.
  2. What is the difference between an Administrator and an Executor?
    A: An Administrator is the person appointed to administer the estate of a person who died without a Will; an Executor is the person who you select to administer your estate following your death.
  3. What new law was introduced in Alberta in 2012 to specify how and to whom property is transferred when a person dies?
    A: The The Wills and Succession Act, introduced in February 1, 2012.

When is probate not necessary?
Probate is not required to transfer property that is held in joint names or assets that have a named beneficiary, such as RRSPs, RRIFs, pensions and life insurance policies.

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