Some Questions To Get You Thinking About Your Estate Plan…

By Vanessa DeDominicis

If you don’t already have a Will in place, or if you haven’t looked at your Will for a while, take five minutes to answer a few of these simple questions.  You may be surprised how many of them apply to you……

Do you have a Will?

If you die without a Will, your assets may be administered by the Public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes.

Do you have children?

Your will is the legal instrument that allows you to appoint the legal guardians of your children. If you do not have a will, the Government may act as guardian of your children until a Court appointed guardian is selected, and any money for the benefit of your children will be held by the Government until your children turn 19.

Has there been a change in your marital status?

Divorce or marriage may have a significant impact on your intentions for your estate distribution. Children of a prior marriage may not receive what is intended without the completion of a new will.

Are you a blended family?

A blended family situation adds complexity to your estate plan. Tangled assets, ex‐spouses, “your children, my children and our children” can have major ramifications on your estate plan.

Have you reviewed your Will in the past three years?

Your circumstances change and so does the law. Changes to the law that may affect your estate planning became effective September 1st, 2011. It is highly recommended that you review your will to ensure that it continues to reflect your wishes.

Has there been a change in your net worth?

Probate fees increase and tax matters become more complex as your net worth increases. There are ways to minimize both for your estate.

Do you have a Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement?

If you become incapacitated without an Enduring Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement, your financial and health care decisions may become the responsibility of a government official who is not familiar with your wishes.

Do you know much about Trusts?

You’ve probably heard the term but how do you know if it’s right for you?  Trusts are an excellent estate planning tool which can protect your estate from Wills Variation Act claims and save you thousands in taxes.

Do you have a business?

Giving assets or shares in a company is a tricky business. Any shareholder agreements or partnership agreements need to be carefully reviewed by your lawyer to ensure they reflect your wishes.

Do you have assets outside of B.C.?

If you own assets in another province (for example Alberta) or country (for example the USA) it is very important to discuss these with your lawyer to make sure your estate plan provides for the most tax‐effective disposition of these assets.

This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. For more information on estate planning/incapacity planning and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis at dedominicis@pushormitchell.com or on 250-869-1140. Vanessa practices in the area of Wills and Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna and would be more than happy to assist you.