Expert Estate Planning by Elisabeth Rechsteiner Notary Public
When it comes to Estate Planning, we find that many people are hesitant and for various reasons have been putting off dealing with the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney for many years. We will obtain all the necessary information from you to ensure that the documents we prepare are tailored specifically to your needs and that you are comfortable with the decisions you have made. When all documents have been signed and sealed, we find that our clients leave our office with a “big load lifted off their shoulders”.
Contact the Burnaby, Metrotown offices of Elisabeth Rechsteiner, Notary Public, for compassionate, knowledgeable and quality Estate Planning Services in Burnaby, Vancouver, New Westminster and throughout the entire Province of British Columbia.You can reach Elisabeth and her staff at (604) 433-1911 or at email@example.com.
Notary Public Estate Planning
A Will is a legal document which is valid only after your death. A Will appoints an Executor who is responsible for all matters relating to the winding up of your estate and states who the guardians for your children will be, how your assets are to be distributed and who your beneficiaries will be. All adults in British Columbia should have a valid Last Will and Testament.
It is highly recommended that all Wills are registered with the Division of Vital Statistics in Victoria. We do not send a copy of the Will to Victoria, we provide Vital Statistics with pertinent information including the date of your Will and where the original is stored.
When someone passes away, it will be necessary to conduct a search with the Division of Vital Statistics to ensure that the Will we have at hand is indeed the last Will and Testament of the Deceased.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is only valid during your lifetime and allows someone to take care of your business, financial and legal matters, in the event that you are incapable or if you are hospitalized or out of the country for a period of time.
Powers of Attorney
We can also prepare “limited” Powers of Attorney that would be valid to deal with restricted matters such as selling your property and dealing with the sale proceeds, in the event you are out of the country at the time of completion.
Section 9 Representation Agreements
This agreement appoints someone you trust to have full authority to make health care and personal care decisions on your behalf. An individual must have full mental capacity to execute the Section 9 Representation Agreement.
Section 7 Representation Agreements
Are agreements used for persons who have diminished mental capacity and wish to appoint someone they trust to take care of limited financial, personal care and health matters;
Is a written direction that tells your medical professionals, representative or family members what kinds of health care procedures you want if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Last Will and Testament:
At the Burnaby, Metrotown office of Elisabeth Rechsteiner, Notary Public, we can assist you with the preparation and execution of your Last Will and Testament. Where a Will is beyond our scope as a Notary Public, we are happy to refer you to a lawyer who specializes in this area of law.
When using our office to prepare your Will, we always have at least two appointments with you. The first appointment is to obtain the necessary information from you such as your personal information, details about your family and to determine what assets your estate will one day consist of. We will also discuss who you would like to appoint as your executor, who the beneficiaries are to be and who you wish to appoint as the guardians of your infant children. After the first meeting, you may have some things to think about and to provide us with further information. When you are ready, we set a second appointment for signing. Before executing your Will, we will carefully go over and explain all the paragraphs in your Will, and make any adjustments that may be necessary.
Every adult in British Columbia should have a Will, even if you have a very small estate. When there is no Will your financial institution will in all likelihood not release any funds to your spouse, children or parents without Letters of Administration. Letters of Administration are obtained through a costly and lengthy legal process. If there is a Will, and you have a small estate, the financial institutions will often release assets to the appointed Executor who is responsible for carrying out all the “business” of your estate. The Executor may have to provide the bank with a Statutory Declaration confirming the estate is small, and that Letters Probate will not be applied for.
Certainly, if you have a substantial Estate, you will want to have a Will prepared, as you do not want the Wills, Estate and Succession Act (WESA) to determine who your executors are, who will benefit from your assets, and who will be looking after your infant children. By preparing a Last Will and Testament, you are the one who determines how these important matters will be dealt with after you have passed away.
Many clients come to our office and say “Oh, I just need a simple Will”. Wills vary depending on your personal situation, your beneficiaries and what assets you have, and yes, some are certainly more complicated than others. However, we often find that prior to the initial meeting with our Notary, our clients do not take into consideration that their appointed executor may not be willing or able to carry out their duties when the time comes, that younger beneficiaries could pass away before them and that their chosen guardians may no longer be in a position to look after the children after you have passed away. Therefore, it is very important that we also consider contingent executors, beneficiaries and guardians when preparing your Last Will and Testament.
In the office of Elisabeth Rechsteiner, Notary Public, we take the time to talk about your personal circumstances, who your executors should be, how your assets are to be divided up after your death, and who would be the appropriate guardians for your children and trustees of their assets until they attain legal age.
When selecting your Executors, Trustees and Guardians, it is a good idea to discuss such appointment with them prior to completing your Will. These roles can be time-consuming and involve a large volume of work, so you want to choose someone who is organized, likes paperwork and can devote the required time to the tasks involved… and above all, someone you totally trust.
It is a policy in our office to register all Wills with the Division of Vital Statistics in Victoria. Although we do not actually send a copy of your Will to Victoria, we facilitate an on-line registration of your name and other personal information, the date of your Will and where your original Will is being stored. A bank safety deposit box is one of the best places to keep your original Will, or at home. However if you are keeping it at home we recommend it be stored as fireproof and burglarproof as possible.
Power of Attorney:
At the Burnaby, Metrotown office of Elisabeth Rechsteiner, Notary Public, we are also able to assist you with completing a Power of Attorney. While your Last Will and Testament is only valid after you pass away, a Power of Attorney is only valid during your lifetime and allows someone to take care of your legal, financial and business affairs in the event you have become incapable, are hospitalized or are away from home.
The majority of the Powers of Attorney that we prepare are “Enduring” Powers of Attorney which can be used while you are mentally capable and can also be used in the future when you become incapable. Usually these Enduring Powers of Attorney do not have a time limit and are effective until you have passed away or you have revoked the appointment of your Attorney. Although restrictions can be placed in these documents, we generally recommend that they be kept open and all-encompassing so that your trusted Attorneys are able to assist you with any and all legal, financial and business matters in the event you are unable to look after your affairs in the future.
We encourage all adults, especially as you approach middle age… and certainly those of you in your 70s and 80s… to have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place in the event you have a stroke, are diagnosed with dementia or have an accident which renders you incapable of taking care of your own affairs. We find that much too often we are approached to prepare a Power of Attorney when a loved when has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or is in the hospital suffering from cancer. If you are not mentally capable, or if you are taking medication that is affecting your thought process, we are not able to prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney for you.
In the event you require an Enduring Power of Attorney, and are no longer able to provide instructions to our office to prepare one, your loved ones are faced with applying for Committeeship on your behalf, a process which is time-consuming and expensive.
We also prepare Powers of Attorney which are to be used only for a specific action and/or specific time such as selling your home or car, or dealing with your banking while you are traveling abroad or if you live in another country for a period of time.
Representation Agreement (Section 9):
At the Burnaby, Metrotown office of Elisabeth Rechsteiner, Notary Public, we also prepare Representation Agreements. As set forth above, an Enduring Power of Attorney appoints someone you trust to assist you with your business, financial and legal affairs, but not with your medical, health and personal care matters. For these personal matters, you would require a Section 9 Representation Agreement. In this document you can appoint one or more family members, or close friends, to act on your behalf in the event you no longer can direct your medical and health care professionals as to what your wishes are. Your Representative will have the right to determine where you will live if you are no longer able to live on your own, or arrange for help to be brought into your home. You Representative would also have the right to talk to your doctor on your behalf, make decisions about performing or not performing certain medical procedures and under some circumstances, withdrawing life support.
Representation Agreement (Section 7):
A Section 7 Representation Agreement is a document which appoints someone to assist you with limited business, financial and legal matters, and limited health care and personal care matters. When executing one of these Agreements, the Adult does not have to have full mental capacity but does need to have some understanding as to what the person or persons they appoint are able to do on their behalf. In addition to appointing a Representative, a Monitor will also need to be appointed. A Section 7 Representation Agreement is often used when Special Needs Children enter into adulthood and wish to appoint their parents to assist them.
An Advance Directive is often also referred to as a living will, a personal directive or a medical directive. This is a legal document in which you can set forth what type of medical procedures you want and do not want, how much life support you want, whether or not you wish to have CPR and where you would like to live if you are no longer able to live on your own.
You can prepare an Advance Directive that is directed towards the medical and health care professionals only, or an Advance Directive that assists the persons appointed under your Representation Agreement with making decisions on your behalf.