A Will is a formal contract made by a testator, where they outline who they wish their estate to pass to in the event of their death. The Will is only enforceable once the testator dies. During their lifetime, the Will must be kept in a safe, fireproof facility, in order to prevent any damage to the document. The Will must only be changed by a lawyer, and should never be written on. Should there be any changes to the circumstances in the Will, it is always recommended to have the Will amended.
The testator must have testamentary capacity at the time of signing the Will, which is why it is best to have the Will drafted as soon as possible to avoid any incapacities that may come with age. More than half of Canadians do not have formal Wills, leaving hardship for their loved ones, once they are gone. Dying without a Will leaves little to no room to decide how your estate is divided, as disposition will be subject to the general rules provided by the Government.
A Power of Attorney is also known as a living will. They are formal contracts that are enforceable while the Donor is alive but either unavailable or incapacitated. The document enables the named attorney to make decisions about the donor’s property and health care needs.
A Healthcare Directive is a letter addressed to the health care practitioner, expressing your wishes on how to be treated when you are no longer able to communicate those wishes.
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