So many ideas...loose weight, gain weight (lol), go to the gym, don't each chololate (lol) stop eating chips, eat healthy, be nice to your brother, walk the dog every day...what ever your New Years Resolution is, make it attainable.
I had a client in my office the other day and when I sit down with a client, one of my first questions is: "When was the last time you updated your Will and Powers of Attorney?" You need to make sure your estate is looked after, your finances are taken care of and your health-care directives are carried out.
He told me, this is his New Years Resolution!
What a great idea, something very important and accomplishable - whatever the cost, it's worth it. You dont want a judge deciding your estate's fate.
Yes, you must consider a few things such as:
1. Your Will needs an executor
The executor carries out the directives in the will, making sure that whatever you decided upon happens. That person will also be responsible for paying final taxes and debts, dividing property and shutting down accounts. Usually, people choose a trusted friend or relative -- a financial adviser can't be involved, as it could be considered a conflict of interest -- but a lawyer may be appointed.
2. You have to appoint two powers of attorney
There are two powers of attorney (POA) that you'll need to appoint — one to look after your finances and one to look after your health-care needs. (It's typically not the same person.) These people do pretty much the same thing as an executor, but they only come into play if you're incapacitated.
The financial POA will be able to handle investments on your behalf and pay off debts, among other things. The health-care POA will make decisions on any treatments or surgeries you might need to undertake, as well as whether to pull the plug on life support.
3. You can use your Will to name a guardian
If you have children under 18, you should name a guardian to look after them if something happens. You don't want the courts to decide where your children go. Choose a friend or relative you trust who shares similar values -- and if your kids are old enough, consider consulting them as well.
4. The government will split your assets if you don't have a Will
If you don't have a will, then the government will decide who gets what. In most cases, the surviving spouse inherits the first $200,000 of an estate and the rest would be split between living parents and children.
5. Keep the original Will in a safe place, and a copy at home
Only an original will -- no photocopies -- can be shown in court. Usually the will is kept by the client in a safety deposit box, or by the lawyer. There have been cases where the original wasn't presented and the judge revoked the wishes of the deceased, so make sure people know where the original is being kept.
6. Your Will needs to be updated regularly
As your family changes, so should your will. Make sure you update -- or at least review -- the document after any major life event, such as a divorce, birth, death or change to your economic status.
For a Will Planning Check list see our website.
Contact me and let me know what you think.
Michele Wells CCS Financial Advisor Manulife Securities Incorporated
Focused WealthCare Balancing Finances & Lifestyle
call (807) 684-1900 fax (807) 626-5111 e-mail Michele.Wells@manulifesecurities.ca
find me on linkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/michelewellsccs
This is for information purposes only. Thank you.