North Toronto Post - - Ask The Expert - CON­TACT Mary Anne Shaw - Bar­ris­ter and So­lic­i­tor 1366 Yonge Street, Suite 308 Toronto, On­tario, M4T 3A7 Tel: 416-968-0096

On the sub­ject of Wills, Es­tates and Pow­ers of At­tor­ney, there are many com­monly asked ques­tions by in­di­vid­u­als when think­ing about pre­par­ing these types of doc­u­ments. Here are a few:

What is the dif­fer­ence be­tween a Will and a Power of At­tor­ney?

A Will is a writ­ten doc­u­ment which speaks from the date of your death and in it you dis­trib­ute your as­sets to those per­sons known as ben­e­fi­cia­ries whom you want to re­ceive all your worldly goods.

A Power of At­tor­ney is a doc­u­ment which names one or more in­di­vid­u­als you have cho­sen to act on your be­half (At­tor­ney), while you are alive but in­ca­pable of man­ag­ing your own af­fairs. There are two types of Power of At­tor­ney, one for Prop­erty (bank ac­counts, in­vest­ments, real es­tate) and one for Per­sonal Care (med­i­cal, care and end of life de­ci­sions).

What does “Pro­bate” mean?

The type of as­sets that you own when you die will de­ter­mine whether your Es­tate Trustee needs to ap­ply for a Cer­tifi­cate of Ap­point­ment of Es­tate Trustee with a Will for­mally known as “Pro­bate” or not. The Es­tate Ad­min­is­tra­tion Tax (“pro­bate fees”) is payable. This is a “hot” topic. The Es­tate Trustee may ob­tain a Cer­tifi­cate to deal with most fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and with your real es­tate. As­sets such as shares in a closely held pri­vate cor­po­ra­tion may not re­quire a Cer­tifi­cate. You may want to think about Dual Wills.

Where do I leave my Will and Pow­ers of At­tor­ney for safe­keep­ing?

You can keep the orig­i­nal doc­u­ments. It is im­por­tant that you put them in a safe place so that they are not lost or mis­laid. Let your Es­tate Trustee and/or those named in the Pow­ers of At­tor­ney, know where those doc­u­ments are stored. If you have used a lawyer to pre­pare them he/she may keep them at your re­quest.

The lawyer may have you sign a Di­rec­tion with the terms un­der which he/she can re­lease those doc­u­ments such as pre­sen­ta­tion of a let­ter from a Doc­tor at­test­ing to your in­ca­pac­ity or a Death Cer­tifi­cate.

Mary Anne Shaw, B.A., LL.B. BIO Mary Anne Shaw is an es­tab­lished lawyer whose law prac­tice fo­cuses on Wills and Es­tates, Res­i­den­tial Real Es­tate and Fam­ily Law. Mary Anne Shaw is very ac­tive in the com­mu­nity, and has served on many boards and foun­da­tions in the not-for-profit arts and health sec­tors. She pro­vides per­sonal ser­vice and prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions.

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