Wills and Power of Attorney 

Contact us for your wills and power of attorney in Ontario

Do I need a Will?

Yes; everybody should have a Will.   Have your lawyer prepare it: writing your own Will, even with a kit, is a false economy that will most likely benefit only the lawyers arguing over its interpretation. Usually, we meet with you twice– first to take your instructions and second to sign the document.

How should I prepare for my Wills appointment?

Consider the following:  What do I own?   Who are my beneficiaries?  (Often a spouse first, then children if you have both died).  Who will administer the estate?  (Normally a spouse but can be a trust company or your lawyer).  Who will look after my children? How will my children be provided for?  

We will help you fit your personal situation into a will that is logical and easy to understand. 

What is a “Power of Attorney”?

By signing a Power of Attorney, you authorize someone else to act as your agent, for your convenience or in the case of your absence or disability.

Who prepares my “Power of Attorney”?

Usually your lawyer, as an additional service with your wills.

What is a Power of Attorney for property?

This document authorizes your attorney to deal with your “property”:  real estate, bank accounts, everything. It could be unconditional, or subject to restrictions.

What is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care

Also referred to as a “living will”, it authorizes your attorney to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to. 

What should my “Living Will” say?

Here is a formula that we have used in our law firm for death bed instructions in a living will: 

  1. I donotwish to have my life unduly prolonged by any medical treatment or procedure whatsoever which offers no reasonable expectation of a significant period of my fully conscious recovery except as may be necessary for the relief of my physical suffering; and,
  2. I do wish to be relieved of unnecessary physical suffering by accepted palliative medical treatment where my death is reasonably imminent even if this means that I may never regain full consciousness and even if this may hasten my death. 

    What is Estate Planning?

    Whatever I own will be transferred to others on my death. I can direct how that happens through my Estate Plan. 

    What arrangements do I need to make now to ensure that those people whom I have left will find my financial affairs and records to be in good order and that:

    • If I have a business, it can continue after my death
    • My family’s financial needs will be met
    • Obligations such as debts, support payments and loan guarantees will be paid
    • My Church or charity will be supported 
    • I have clearly stated my wishes for end of life care, my funeral, and gifts of personal property
    An Estate Plan includes a Will, which should be drawn by an estates lawyer.  Depending on what you own, having multiple wills drawn by an estate lawyer may save on probate taxes.  It also requires that I consider other property I own that passes outside my will, such as the house I jointly own with another person, life insurance payable to an individual or to my estate, my Employment Death Benefit, RRSP, RRIF or TFSA for which I have named a beneficiary.    Depending upon what I own, my Estate Plan may also require advice from a tax accountant and even an insurance broker.

    Why not write your own will?

    Yes, writing a Will is not quite rocket science or brain surgery.  A DIY Will Kit is available in grocery stores and from funeral homes…. BUT: 

    A Will is a formal document with simple requirements that must be strictly followed, or it is not valid:    a witnessed will requires that two witnesses (who are not beneficiaries) be present to sign the will with the Testator at the same time.  One of the witnesses will have to swear an affidavit before a Commissioner of Oaths. A Will prepared and signed in a lawyer’s office, besides looking crisp, clean and professional, will most likely meet this minimum standard.  A homemade Will often does not. 

    Then there is the content of the Will.  If an important part has been omitted or is unclear, trouble may ensue, along with Court costs and additional legal fees that exceed the money saved by writing one’s own Will. 

    A Will has a logical flow, starting with the revocation of any previous Will that it replaces, the appointment of an Executor and alternate Executor, direction to pay debts, gifts and bequests, division of the remainder of the Estate, trusts and guardianship for children, special instructions, and the granting of powers to the Executor and Trustee. The Will needs to be complete, and its meaning and effect must be clear to the people reading and relying on it. 

    Our firm proudly continues the practice of Robin D. MacKay and Associates.