Estate planning allows you to choose the recipients of your assets in the event of your death. A Will is a commonly used estate planning tool but it is only one piece of the puzzle. Wills challenges are a reality and our estate planning lawyer can advise you on a number of strategies to ensure the intended distribution of your estate. We can also help you plan for old age and incapacity, offering Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements.
When a person dies without a valid Will, their assets may be distributed to their spouse, descendants, relatives, or, in the absence of those three, the government. In order for a Will to be valid, the Will-maker, witnesses to the Will, and the Will itself must meet certain requirements, subject to exceptions. Similarly, a gift made in a Will may be void in some cases, even though the rest of the Will is valid. Let our estate planning lawyer assist you in leaving behind a Will that is able to give effect to your wishes.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document by which an adult grants a person, called the attorney, power to act on their behalf with respect to financial affairs. The attorney is bound by certain duties and there are restrictions on who may act as an attorney. The adult must understand the nature and consequences of the document at the time of signing. If the adult subsequently loses capacity, the document continues to be in effect; that’s why it is called an Enduring Power of Attorney.
A Representation Agreement is an agreement by which an adult authorizes a representative to assist the adult in making medical and other personal decisions, or to make these decisions on the adult’s behalf. The representative may be granted the power to give or refuse consent to health care for the adult, including health care necessary to preserve life. In the absence of a Representation Agreement, a health care provider will choose a temporary substitute decision maker for an adult incapable of making decisions.