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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” – Confucius
There are things we can do in life to not only make our own lives easier, but to make the lives of the ones we love easier as well. One of those simple things is to have our affairs in order so that our loved ones aren’t left with the complicated task of figuring out our wishes when we are no longer able to communicate them.
In Alberta there are three documents you should have to assist with this. They are:
- A will
- A personal directive
- An enduring power of attorney (POA)
Your will is the document that will allow you to set out how you’d like your property to be distributed. This is both your real property (i.e. homes) and/or your personal belongings of value. Your will also allows you to set out who will be given guardianship of any minor children or even living pets. Finally, your will allows you to name a person who will be responsible for ensuring these wishes are carried out upon your death.
It’s important to note that if you do not leave a will you are considered to have died intestate, and in this case, the Wills and Succession Act will apply. What this means is, your assets will be distributed or guardians will be assigned based on the law and not based on your personal wishes.
A personal directive is focused on medical and health related decisions. This document allows you to appoint someone to make these decisions for you in the unfortunate event that you are no longer able to make them for yourself (i.e. illness, injury, loss of capacity).
Having a person appointed via a personal directive means that you can have discussions with this trusted individual ahead of time to ensure your wishes are carried out the way you want them to be.
Similar to the personal directive, the POA allows you to appoint someone you trust to make financial decisions for you should you no longer be able to make them for yourself. Again, having a POA in place means someone you trust and have communicated with is there to carry out your wishes for you.
In the event that you don’t have a personal directive or POA in place, the court will appoint someone for you.
These are difficult conversations but Hayes-Fry law has the compassion and experience to make them as easy as possible. If you are ready to help ensure peace of mind for both you and your loved ones, give our office a call today at 780.831.7370 or email reception@HayesFryLaw.ca. We’d be happy to help guide you through this next journey in life.
The following resources were relied on in the preparation of this blog:
- Government of Alberta, “Wills in Alberta” (2023), Online: < https://www.alberta.ca/wills-in-alberta.aspx>
- Wills and Succession Act, SA 2010, C W-12.2.