Burnaby General Practice Law Blog

The Importance Of Estate Planning

As the year comes to a close, many individuals may reflect on any recent changes in 2019. Some people purchased new property, some got married or divorced, and some experienced the birth or death of a loved one.

Upon this reflection, you may want to consider how these changes may affect your estate. If you acquired new assets or business shares, or grew the size of your family, it’s important to update your will to reflect your current assets and family dynamic.

Enforcing A Will or Power of Attorney

When you create testamentary documents, you leave behind a set of instructions and directions to be carried out by the designees you have chosen. However, many designees are spouses or adult children, and only have to perform in this capacity once or twice in their lives.

This means they may not understand all of the responsibilities or complexities related to winding up an estate or enforcing a will or power or attorney. And remember, you will either be incapacitated, or no longer around, to provide any clarification.

Changing a will after the testator passes away

Drafting a will can be a complex task for some individuals. Some people have children from different marriages or are estranged from certain individuals. In some cases, people may have drafted a will earlier in their life and did not update the will to reflect changes such as births, divorces, ownership of new property or the acquisition of specific possessions over his or her lifetime.

If there are shortcomings or pitfalls within your will, these issues will be felt by your surviving family and friends. And when there are issues with administering a will, it can hold up the division of assets for as long as it takes to resolve those issues.

Powers of Attorney and Estate Trustees

Estate planning involves many different considerations. Two of the biggest ones are what to do while you are alive and cannot make decisions, and who will look after your affairs after you have passed.

For the first consideration, many people choose to appoint a power of attorney. This designation is someone who acts on your behalf while you are alive, but incapacitated. He or she can will primarily look after your financial interests and your health interests.

What are my rights if a loved one passes away without a will?

If a loved one passes away without a will, his or her estate will be distributed along legislative guidelines. This means that the will be distributed in accordance with a set of rules as which surviving family members gets which parts of the estate.

Unfortunately, however surviving family members may have believed a loved one would have wanted his or her possessions distributed, no will means there is no clear or legal instructions to follow.

Communication Between Parents After A Divorce

When there are hurt feelings or resentment following a divorce or separation, communication between ex’s can be strained. However, when there are children involved in the breakdown of a marriage, it’s possible that communication between parents could continue for years.

When parents decided to share parenting duties following a split, a parenting plan can be a great way to facilitate communication between the parties and create guidelines that each parent can adhere to.

Are you thinking about renewing or refinancing your mortgage?

Many British Columbia homeowners face the situation every few years: the time your mortgage term will be expiring. Yet, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience if you know what to expect. You may be up against different interest rates, and you also might be thinking about finding another lender with more attractive rates. Being aware of how to avoid potential drawbacks will give you a head start when renewal or refinance time actually rolls around.

Renewing your mortgage is actually a great time for you to think about how well your existing arrangement has been fitting into your day-to-day life and how it marries with your current financial footing. Depending upon the term of your initial mortgage – whether that was for five or more years – your financial picture may be a little brighter and you may be able to afford higher payments. If lifestyle changes have occurred over the last few years, these could potentially reflect in your mortgage renewal or refinance terms.

Estate planning after a marriage or divorce

The marriage and divorce of two people can have a large impact on your estate planning documents. Generally, its best advised to re-evaluate your testamentary documents such as wills, powers of attorney and insurance policies each time you pass a major life milestone, such as getting married, buying property, having children, or filing for divorce.

The reason for this, as described on the Royal Bank of Canada website, is to make sure that your assets and property go where you intended them to go in the event of your passing.

The Psychological Effects of Parental Alienation

For couples that don’t have children, a divorce could be the last time the pair ever see each other. For divorcing or separating parents, that might not always be the case. For many parents who decide to end their relationship, they may need to communicate with each other if they want to play a role in their child’s life. However, if there are residual feelings of animosity between the parents, its possible this may trickle down into how they each parent their children.

Known as parental alienation, this concept explains when one parent badmouths the other parent in front of their child. The effects of this type of behaviour can have a major impact on a child’s emotional and mental development.

Parenting After Divorce: The Health of Your Child

After you have divorced your partner, you may still need to interact with him or her if both of you share children together. Parents may need to consult with each other over important issues, ranging from schooling or behaviour issues to health issues or participating in certain activities.

One of the more critical reasons parents may need to communicate is the health of their child. Items like medical appointments, insurance and benefit claims, or meeting special needs are all items that both parents should be able to discuss amicably in order to make a decision that best benefits their child.

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