Estate planning can seem like a daunting task that is only relevant if you’re wealthy or expect to die imminently. However, estate planning is more complex than simply determining the division of your assets after you’re gone. A comprehensive estate plan also expresses your wishes in the event of incapacitation.
Accidents and death happen suddenly. If you fall ill and are unable to manage your assets or if you die without a plan in place, your estate will be handled in a probate court by judges unfamiliar with you and your family. This can exacerbate an already emotional situation and negatively impact everyone involved, including minor children or pets who could end up with guardians you did not choose. Furthermore, the lack of a proper estate plan may be costly to your family, as they can incur legal fees wrapping up your affairs.
Instead of leaving your affairs to a stranger, consult an estate planning lawyer to ensure your family’s best interests are protected when you are gone. Below, we’ll explain how estate planning is beneficial to you and your loved ones.
Guardianship of your children and pets
An effective estate plan requires a will; however, keep in mind that this is not just a legal document ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes. If you have pets or children under 18, you can choose their guardian if you cannot care for them. Suppose you do not assign guardianship to your minor children. In that case, the court makes the decision, and a judge with no knowledge of your family will choose a family member they deem fit or possibly mandate that your children become wards of the state. Planning your estate safeguards your children in case of an emergency.
Control in case of incapacitation
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document included in your estate plan. It allows you to choose one or more persons you trust to make decisions about your healthcare and finances should you become incapacitated. If you lose your ability to make sound decisions before designating a power of attorney, your family will need to apply for a deputyship. This process can be time-consuming and incur unnecessary legal fees. Furthermore, their application can be denied, which means the courts will be in charge of the crucial decisions you might prefer left to people who know and care for you.
Distribution of assets
As discussed above, a properly worded and executed will ensure that your assets are distributed the way you want. It is a legal document that can help limit taxes possibly applied to your estate, avoid legal challenges resulting in legal fees, and mitigate family strife. If you have any debts, your will can specify which assets should be liquidated to settle the debt. It can also create a trust where disbursements are made to named beneficiaries at set intervals. An estate planning lawyer ensures the document is accurate and complies with the Wills, Estates and Succession Act of British Columbia.
Wills and estate lawyer in Surrey
An effective estate plan goes beyond the drafting of a will. It can include documents like guardianship designations and power of attorney and reduce your family’s emotional and financial stress.
At Nirwan Law Corporation, our experienced estate planning lawyers understand the importance of defining your legacy and protecting your family. We work hard to protect your interests and ensure your wishes are understood if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Contact us online for a free consultation or give us a call at (604) 372-0253.