Legal – Insurance – Estate
Do you have an up-to-date Will? If you don’t, please use this article as encouragement for you and your family.
Having a current Will assists in funeral arrangements, and estate settlement, by clearly stating who is responsible for final decisions as well as signing relevant documents. It is the best way to assure that your estate is handled according to your desires. In addition, a Will can make a great difference in the time and effort involved in the handling of the estate.
If a separation or divorce has fragmented your family, it is essential a new Will be created. Is your Will is older than 10 years, please review it as there may be updates needed?
Naming an executor is the first step. Your executor can be a family member, friend or someone like a lawyer. You can also have more than one person as long as the persons are at least 18 years old. Please note that a Power of Attorney (POA) is not the same as an executor. Don’t confuse the two!
A POA is the person responsible for your affairs while you are still alive. The role, and powers, of a POA dies with you! The executor then takes over and is responsible for settling your estate. The POA and executor can be the same person, they just have different responsibilities! Don’t keep the executor in the dark! And don’t, for heaven’s sake, keep the Will in a secret place!
It is suggested that you obtain legal advice on the array of different matters such as the disbursement or conversion of assets, changing of property deeds and titles, the disposition of bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and the disposition of business assets. If you do not have an attorney, it is suggested you find one.
Upon death, a Will may need to be probated. Probate is the legal procedure for the orderly distribution of an estate. In most cases, probating a Will is a simple process. Only in the instances where the Will is being contested or the deceased had numerous holdings will the action be more complex.
If there is no Will, the estate will be disposed of according to provincial laws. If you have assets, create a Will!
It is really helpful if your papers are gathered together such as life insurance policies, real estate deeds, property insurance, tax information, pension plans, health insurance policies, savings plans, bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit accounts, safety deposit boxes and where to find the key, mortgages, stocks and bonds, investments, motor vehicle insurance and registration, credit card accounts and outstanding loans. The more prepared you, and your estate trustee (executor), are the easier the process following one’s death.
Life insurance companies normally require only two forms to process a claim; (1) a statement of claim, and (2) a proof of death certificate from the funeral home. An insurance company may ask for a certified copy of the Medical Certificate of Death, stating medical cause of death. If this is the case, please contact us to help you through this process. Patience is required!