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.

This is why its important to discuss with your designees while you have the power to do so, what your wishes are regarding your estate. As you draft these documents, your lawyer may explain to you the process for executing your wishes. But it’s essential your designees are also aware of the legal procedures that accompany testamentary documents in order to put them into effect.

As an example, the National Bank of Canada as described their process for what needs to be done in order for their institution to recognize a power of attorney. You can read the full description on their site, but the gist of it requires:

  • Confirming the validity of the power of attorney document
  • Confirming the designee’s identity
  • A certified copy of the power of attorney
  • Investigating any potential red flags (ex. scope of powers)

This is just one example of the scrutiny that a designee may face when trying to act on your behalf as a power of attorney. He or she will require access to your accounts, and a bank will make sure that your accounts are protected from any fraudulent activity.

An experienced legal professional will be able to help you and your designee understand what needs to be done in order to provide access to your accounts for the power of attorney. There are similar processes in place for estate trustees when executing a will.

A legal professional will also be able to identify potential issues or shortcomings in your testamentary documents that may hold up the execution process. If you have questions about the powers you give your power or attorney or estate trustee, it’s important that you discuss these concerns with an estates lawyer.

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