Creating a valid Will is an essential part of the estate planning process, but all too many people mistake it for being the only step. At Westcoast Wills, we conduct an in-depth estate planning interview lasting about an hour and a half for every will and trust client as a matter of course. As a part of this meeting, we discuss your family, companies, ownership of real estate and bank accounts, beneficiary designations, insurance coverage, trusts, Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. We give advice where needed on these points, and often times, this estate planning advice saves clients thousands of dollars in the long run. Only part of the meeting is devoted to talking about your Will and trusts.
A Will helps reduce or even eliminate disputes that can arise among members of your family relating to the distribution of your assets in the unfortunate event of your death. If you do not document your wishes in a valid Will, the assets in your estate will be distributed in accordance with the arbitrary, predetermined rules of intestate succession, as set out in Part 3 of BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act. Under these rules, only your closest living relatives will inherit your property.
When working with Westcoast Wills & Estates, you can rest assured that your property will be distributed as you intended. A Wills and trusts lawyer will take your instructions, provide professional advice and draft a comprehensive Will that incorporates all of your wishes and includes appropriate trusts, while minimizing taxes payable by your estate.
If you are over 65 and have substantial assets, we may recommend an alter ego trust or joint partner trust to compliment your will.
Along with a Will, you should consider having in place a Representation Agreement (for personal and health care decisions) and a Power of Attorney (for financial decisions) in the event that you become incapable of managing your affairs in the future.