Like any end-of-life conversation, discussing estate planning may be difficult. However, if you have loved ones who will be receiving your assets after death, it’s extremely important to begin estate planning now in order to avoid heavy taxation, fees and bureaucratic red tape after your passing.
If you have considerable assets, law firms in Prince George strongly recommend developing a relationship with a lawyer in BC who is familiar with estate planning in order to make the process easier. Below are a few important estate planning steps we recommend implementing.
Create a Will
A will is an important piece of estate planning. Without a will, the province has the power to decide how your assets are distributed, and the entire process takes considerably longer. Your assets are also subject to heavy taxation and fees without a will, and it’s likely that your family will not get the inheritance you may want to give them.
Grant Power of Attorney
Power of attorney, or POA, lets you appoint a person you trust to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Lawyers in Prince George will tell you that this is crucial to put in place, even if you’re married. Without POA, your spouse or adult child has no legal authority to do things like handle finances, speak with your lawyers or open your mail if you become unable to do so.
You need a will to ensure that your assets are passed along according to your wishes, but you should also consider establishing trusts to make the transfer of money and assets easier. A trust is more legally binding than a will, which can be challenged after your death. Trusts will help your loved ones avoid hefty tax rates and fees, and they also eliminate the tedious and expensive probate process.
Our lawyers in Prince George, BC, can help you establish the right kind of trusts so that your heirs get exactly what you wish to give them without the interference of the courts. A revocable living trust is common, but a testamentary trust may be more beneficial because it is not subject to the severe trust tax rates while you are living.
Get Expert Guidance
Whether you have a significant amount of assets to distribute or only a modest financial situation, it is still important to speak with an expert about estate planning if you have a family. Though it may be uncomfortable, a bit of planning now can save your loved ones stress in the future.