Advance Serious Illness Planning – how does this fit into an estate plan?

At LegalWills.ca we provide the tools for all key “estate planning” documents. These include a Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, and “Living Will”. According to leading medical practitioners, one key document is missing – a document that describes the medical treatment you wish to receive if you have a serious illness. Not an “end-of-life” document, Advance Serious Illness Planning. We met with Dr Daren Heyland of Queens University. He has created the Plan Well Guide, and kindly agreed to write a guest article for us.

Dr. Daren K. Heyland, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Advance Serious Illness Planning (ASIP): A conversation with a critical care doctor

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Every document you need – how to write it, and how much it costs.

We live in unprecedented times. We have a COVID-19 global pandemic. People are being told to self-isolate. Others are being placed in quarantine.

It’s a worrying situation that does not appear to be abating.

It may be time to pause and to think about which documents you should have in place. If COVID-19 goes away, and we all hope it does, these documents are still important, and will last you for the rest of your life. Hopefully that will be another 50 years or more. The documents may need to be updated as your circumstances change, but it is important to have them in place.

In this article we will describe a complete list of documents that you should put in place. We will explain how to create one, how much it costs, and the legal formalities for each.

Estate planning documents
Your important documents
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An estate plan for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – The Expat Will?

Disclaimer: This article is using the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as an illustration of a widely experienced situation. We are not suggesting that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle use our service; it would be up to them to decide whether the Expat Will service at LegalWills.ca is a good fit for them. We have certainly seen people with wealth, surrounded by a legal team, write their own Will, or even die without a Will. But each individual would need to decide the best approach for themselves. We refer to them as “Harry and Meghan” in the article, but it could be anybody.

Disclaimer 2: This article is not legal advice. It is presented as general information which may or may not apply to your own personal situation.

You have probably heard by now, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are moving from the UK to Canada. There is a chance that they may buy property in Canada. Prince Harry is a UK citizen. Meghan Markle is an American citizen. Their son, Archie, is probably dual citizen UK and US, now being raised in Canada.

What does this all mean for their estate planning?

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Canadian estate planning quiz


Explanation of the answers

This was a tough quiz covering estate planning in Canada. In this article we will provide you with some explanations for our answers.

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A Power of Attorney – The complete Canadian guide.

A Financial Power of Attorney appoints somebody to take care of your financial affairs while you are alive, but usually after you have lost capacity.

This document should not be confused with either a Last Will and Testament (or simply a “Will”) or a Living Will.

A Last Will and Testament makes key appointments and describes the distribution of your estate after you have died.

A Living Will is a document that is also in effect while you are alive, but deals only with your health condition and medical treatment. It usually combines the naming of a Healthcare Proxy with an expression of the type of treatment you wish to receive through an Advance Directive.

Together, these three documents make up a complete Estate Plan in Canada.

Power of Attorney
credit: 123rf

What types of Power of Attorney are there?

The first classification is the Power of Attorney that directs your medical needs; a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Also known as a Healthcare proxy. In this document, you name a person to make medical decisions on your behalf. Most people when they talk about a Power of Attorney are not meaning a Healthcare document.

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Wills for Blended families and stepfamilies

Wills for Blended families

First a definition;

stepfamily or blended family is a family where at least one parent has children, from a previous relationship, that are not genetically related to the other parent. Either one or both parents may have children from a previous relationship. Children from a stepfamily may live with one biological parent, or they may live with each biological parent for a period of time.

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Understanding Advance Directives – Advance Care Terminology

At LegalWills.ca we offer a complete set of estate planning services which include the Last Will and Testament, the financial Power of Attorney, and what we have been calling the “Living Will”. Our Living Will service typically includes a Healthcare Power of Attorney, that allows you to appoint a person to make medical decisions on your behalf (a Healthcare Proxy). And also a Healthcare Directive that allows you to express the type of healthcare you wish to receive if you were ever unable to speak for yourself. We collectively call all of these documents your “Advance Directives”.

We received an email from Pashta MaryMoon the Director of CINDEA – Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives. She expressed concern that we were using the term “Living Will” when it is not a widely used term in Canada and has been borrowed from the US.

After discussions we felt that it would be a great opportunity for Pashta to share with our community the correct use of terminology for Advance Care. The rest of this article is a guest post from Pashta MaryMoon from CINDEA.

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The Living Will: where does it fit in your estate plan?

Everybody needs a Last Will and Testament, but does everybody need a Canadian Living Will? We are asked this question a lot, and the answer is not always clear. Everybody should prepare a Living Will, but not every Living Will is going to be used. Most people will never find themselves in a situation where they need a Living Will, but if you are ever in that situation, it is a vital document, but by then it is too late.

 

According to a 2014 Harris/Decima poll, although nearly all Canadians (96%) believe it is important to have a conversation Continue reading