Bennet Waugh Corne Lawyers - Lawyer - Family Law - Real Estate Law - Law Firm - Winnipeg - Manitoba

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Planning ahead - Health Care Directives and their use during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

 

Planning ahead – Powers of Attorney, Wills and Health Care Directives and their use during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

Please see our earlier articles to learn more about Powers of Attorney and Wills

Part 3 – Health Care Directive

What is the purpose of a Health Care Directive?

A health care directive is a document that states your healthcare and treatment directions to be used by your medical professionals. It also allows you to give another person the power to make medical decisions for you should you ever be unable to make them yourself.

 

How do I make a Health Care Directive during COVID-19?

A healthcare directive can be prepared by Bennet Waugh Corne on your behalf.  If you are proceeding through our office, we would be able to provide you with information and advice to ensure a clear and concise Health Care Directive. 

Prior to finalizing your care instructions, we recommend that you speak with your family doctor or health care professional to ensure that both you and your healthcare professional understand the meaning and effect of your direction. 

The Manitoba government has also prepared a form for your convenience, which is available on the Government of Manitoba website: https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/documents/hcd.pdf. There is also a helpful guide on Health Care Directives available at https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/livingwill.html.

 

 

Posted by Alison Bennet at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Planning ahead –Preparing a Will during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

Planning ahead – Powers of Attorney, Wills and Health Care Directives and their use during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

Please see our earlier article to learn more about Powers of Attorney.

Part 2 – Wills

What is a will?

A Will is a written document that controls how your estate (your assets and your debts) is dealt with after your death.

 

Why is it important to have a Will?

A Will provides your family members with clarity and certainty about your personal wishes and financial matters.   

A Will sets out the name of the person or persons you want to be in charge of carrying out your wishes (your executor). This person will be in charge of such things as distributing what you own, closing accounts, paying your debts and filing your last tax return.  If you pass away without a valid Will, someone may have to apply to the court to be approved as the person to be in charge of your estate. This may add an additional burden to your family. There may be delay and additional costs to proceeding this way.

A Will can set out gifts to different family members, friends, and charitable entities.  It can leave gifts of money, or specific items, such as heirlooms.

 

What happens to my estate if I do not have a Will?

Should you die intestate (without a Will) your estate would be distributed pursuant to The Intestate Succession Act.  Your estate would pass to your next-of-kin, pursuant to the Act.  You would be unable to leave specific gifts to charitable entities, friends, or other family members. It is also unlikely that you would be able to direct treasured heirlooms to the individual of your choice.

 

Why is a Will important if I have children?

A Will provides you with the ability to create a trust for your children.  The Will would make clear when you want items or money to be given to your children, and possibly for what reasons money is to be withdrawn for your children.  The items or money would stay protected under the trust in the meantime.  In a Will, you would also have the ability to make clear at what age you wish your minor children to receive the items or funds under the Will, with an option to have the funds disbursed over time rather than all at once upon reaching a certain age.

You may also “appoint” a substitute guardian for minor children in your will. While the final determination of guardianship of a child is up to the court, appointing a guardian in your Will provides insight into your wishes, which will be considered by the court in deciding what is best for your children.

 

What information do I need to prepare a Will?

A good starting point is to begin preparing a list of all your assets and debts which will belong to your estate at the time of your death.  This includes any bank accounts, insurance policies and pensions. You should include jointly held assets in this list. You should also think about who you want to receive your estate, and if there are any special gifts (of money or of special items) that you would like to make. We recommend that you think about an appropriate person to act as your executor and have an alternate individual(s) in mind, as a backup executor. 

To assist, our office has prepared a general information sheet which we will ask you to fill out. Please email one of the lawyers at the end of the article to provide you with our general information sheet.  This is the first step in preparing your Will.

 

How can I prepare a Will in the current COVID-19 situation?

Contact Bennet Waugh Corne to find out what steps are being taken to have these important documents created, and signed following the health recommendations in place for the protection of your health, our staff, and the community.

Lawyers who can help you with a Power of Attorney and Will are: (click on name for details about lawyer)

Shasta Benaim    contact by email at s.benaim@bwlawyers.ca  

Renée Nichols     contact by email at r.nichols@bwlawyers.ca

Grenville Waughcontact by email at g.waugh@bwlawyers.ca

or to his assistant t.brown@bwlawyers.ca

 

Posted by Alison Bennet at 5:42 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Planning ahead – Powers of Attorney, Wills and Health Care Directives and their use during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

Part 1 – Power of Attorney

COVID-19, also known to many as coronavirus, has had a swift and drastic impact on all of us.  The unknowns cause anxiety as we do not feel in control, and we worry about our loved ones, and our own ability to manage should we become ill.  Most Manitobans have made great efforts to follow the recommendations of health professionals and our government as it relates to social distancing, and other measures to protect our own health, and in the hopes of flattening the curve of progression.  But many of us have not thought of ways we can help our families to manage our affairs should we become ill, or otherwise unable to make personal attendances to take care of our own affairs. 

There are several steps that can be taken to plan for this possibility, whether related to COVID-19, or simply as a matter of general sensible planning.  In this article, we will share information about Powers of Attorney.

 

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the power to take care of your financial or legal affairs while you are still alive, but unable to take care of your own affairs. 

 

In what kinds of situations are Powers of Attorney useful?

Powers of Attorney can be used to have a trusted family member or friend stand in your shoes to take care of things, when you are unable to do so.

Sometimes, people give a power of attorney to someone for a particular reason, or because of an upcoming known event, for example to take care of their financial arrangements while they are out of the country, or in anticipation of an upcoming hospital stay.

Many times, we see the elderly giving powers of attorney to a family member to help them with specific tasks such as banking.

Powers of attorney are often used to plan for times when it would be difficult, or impossible to take care of these things ourselves, due to physical impairment, or in the event we became unable to understand these tasks and make decisions due to mental health issues, and incapacity. An enduring power of attorney survives mental infirmity of the person granting it, and has to be witnessed by a limited type of professional, such as a lawyer.

 

What powers are given in a Power of Attorney?

Usually a Power of Attorney gives the other person general powers, to do all things which may be required such as banking, signing documents, renewing leases and mortgages, paying accounts, and the like.

 

Who should I give this power to?

Usually people name a trusted family member, or close friend to act as their “attorney” under the power of attorney. The “attorney” in this document is not (usually) a lawyer; it is the person to whom you are giving the power to take care of your affairs. The person should reside in the same province and be willing to take on this responsibility.

 

I already have an existing Power of Attorney, am I covered?

It is a good idea to review your Power of Attorney to ensure it is valid, survives mental infirmity, and can be used immediately in the case of an emergency.  You may want to review who you have appointed to ensure they are able to assist you given the current COVID-19 situation.  The appointed “attorney” may be part of a vulnerable sector of the population and may not be able to assist in the event of an emergency, self-isolation or quarantine.

 

I didn’t sign a Power of Attorney.  Can I still sign one during COVID-19?

Because it is an important document, and to make sure that you understand what you are signing, and that it will be sufficient for its intended purpose, a Power of Attorney should be signed in front of a lawyer.  Contact Bennet Waugh Corne, to find out what steps are being taken to have these important documents created, and signed following the health recommendations in place for the protection of your health, our staff, and the community.

Lawyers who can help you with a Power of Attorney are: (click on name for details about lawyer)

Shasta Benaim           contact  s.benaim@bwlawyers.ca  

Renée Nichols            contact  r.nichols@bwlawyers.ca

Grenville Waugh         contact g.waugh@bwlawyers.ca or his assistant at  t.brown@bwlawyers.ca

 

Posted by Alison Bennet at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Prudent to Review Your Will (or get one!) As Your Relationship Status Changes

Prudent to Review Your Will (or get one!) As Your Relationship Status Changes

Why do you need a Will?  If you die without a Will the law will dictate how your property is dealt with.  The Intestate Succession Act sets out what will happen if you die without a Will. This may not be the outcome you wanted. You can ensure that your wishes are followed by having a valid Will.

If you are separated but do not yet have a Separation Agreement or you are not yet divorced and do not have a Will your spouse is still your beneficiary under The Intestate Succession Act.

When should your Will be updated?  If you get married after your Will is made the Will is revoked by the marriage, unless there are specific circumstances as outlined in The Wills Act.  One of those circumstances is if your Will makes reference to the upcoming marriage then it will still be valid.  Another circumstance where the Will is valid following a marriage is if it fulfills obligations to a former spouse or common-law partner under a separation agreement or court order. 

If you get divorced after you have made a Will, your Will is interpreted as though your former spouse predeceased you, unless your Will says otherwise.  This means that any gifts to your former spouse or appointments (for example if they were named as your executor) are revoked.  This applies once your divorce is final. 

What about when you are separated but not yet divorced?  If you are separated but do not have a Separation Agreement your Will is still valid. Any gifts to your spouse are valid. 

What about common-law relationships?  A common-law relationship is established under The Wills Act and The Intestate Succession Act when you have cohabited for 3 years (or 1 year if you have a child together) or if you have registered your relationship under The Vital Statistics Act. 

A Will is an important part of managing your estate and should be reviewed and kept up to date.


Renée Nichols

Posted by Alison Bennet at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Topics


Notice to Readers:

The articles on our website are for general information purposes only, and are not intended to be complete or exhaustive descriptions of the law. The articles and comments should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The articles are current only as at the date they are posted on the website, and the law is subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion on your own unique fact situation, we would be pleased to offer you our assistance and we invite you to contact us.