Planning Ahead: Common Questions

By Linda D. Wood

Does my Will take care of everything?

A Will only comes into effect after you die. The executor of your Will does not have the authority to deal with your affairs while you are alive, even if you become incapacitated. A Power of Attorney and/or a Personal Care Directive allows you to appoint someone to handle your affairs and make decisions for you, if you are unable to do so.

If I lose my original Will, can we use a copy?

Normally a copy of your Will cannot be used if the original is lost. Keep your original Will in a place that is safe, secure and known to your executor.

Can I appoint a Power of Attorney when I need one?

If you wait until you need assistance, it may be too late. Once you become incapacitated, you can no longer appoint someone else to deal with your financial affairs and/or personal care decisions.

Do I need a Will if I don’t own anything?

Yes. Even if you only have personal belongings and a monthly income, a Will makes it easier for your executor to distribute your belongings, deal with your bank accounts and final payments, and file a final income tax return.

What if we can’t decide on a guardian for our children?

Do not put off your estate planning because you have not chosen a guardian. Sometimes meeting with your lawyer to start the process can help you make the necessary decisions. Remember that any decision made by you is better than not having your affairs in order.