Wills & Estate Planning
Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers in Kamloops and the Interior
We have a wide range of experience and knowledge about estate planning and transfer of wealth: during life, upon death, and even after death.
We assist both individuals and families, as well as business owners, to create and implement tax-efficient strategies for succession of their assets.
The three main estate planning documents we recommend are:
- Powers of Attorney
- Representation Agreements
Why do I need a Will?
- Distribute Estate: determine who gets what and when;
- Name Executor: property immediately vests in your executor upon death;
- Determine Guardianship: appoint a guardian for any minor children;
- Provide Clarity: your will provides close friends and family with a clear expression of yourwishes;
- Save time/money: determining how to deal with your estate ahead of time will allow yourexecutor to efficiently deal with your estate and preemptively ward off potential legal challenges, saving expense to maximize the assets your beneficiaries receive.
Why do I need a Representation Agreement?
- Control: Representation Agreement allows you to appoint an individual who must follow your expressed wishes concerning major or minor health care (above and beyond what the closest family member can consent to);
- Autonomy: In all situations, health care providers must determine if a representative is available (within a reasonable time in the circumstances) to consent to health care if an individual is incapable. A representation agreement also supersedes the statutory framework for substitute decision-making;
- Assistance: Representative’s powers range from accessing medical records and aiding in decision-making to determining the necessity for physical restraint or to refuse care;
- Dignity: to provide a clear expression of your wishes through a representative to ensure that your wishes are followed;
- Fiscal Responsibility: In certain circumstances, without a representative the Public Guardian and Trustee or a family member may make a court application to have an individual appointed to take a similar role as representative, the legal costs of which come out of your assets.
Why do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney?
- Efficiency: if you are incapacitated or unavailable, your attorney can sign legal documents or access bank accounts on your behalf rather than resorting to a complex and time-consuming legal process to have a Committee appointed;
- Flexibility: Enduring Powers of Attorney work while you are capable and continue upon incapacity;
- Control: You can name any individual you trust to act as your attorney for your financial and legal affairs whose appointment is effective when you choose, not when a doctor determines you are incapacitated.
We consider and advise on a variety of complementary legal structures, including trusts, wills, joint ownership, life insurance arrangements, inter-vivos gifts and alter-ego trusts, among others. We also work with your accountant to create an estate plan that benefits your specific tax situation.
We are also able to assist when there is a family member with a disability or special needs, to ensure their continued financial well-being after your death.
Planning for your own mental or legal incapacity is another important aspect of how we can help, by advising on powers of attorney, representation agreements, health care advance directives, and adult guardianship issues.
Where matters are contested we will work to resolve the disputes and we will represent our clients in court proceedings where necessary.
* At our first meeting, we will sit down with you to learn about your assets, family structure, and estate planning goals so that we can create a plan that works for you and your family. Please note that we can only take instructions from the will-maker directly (not a family member). In certain circumstances, it will also be necessary for us to ask questions to determine whether a will-maker has legal capacity to execute their estate planning documents and are ensure they are not being pressured by any outside source.