These four items are important even if you don't have a business.
You don't have to have a Will because the law has procedures that are in place just incase someone dies without a Will. It is call dieing intestate. However, it can be an expensive process for your beneficiaries and your estate may not go to who you want it to go to.
A Will - helps you set up where you want your assets to go to and who they go to. They set out your wishes for the business as well. In Ontario, you do not have to have a Will prepared by a lawyer but sometimes it is in your best interest to do so. There is a lot of info on the internet and kits that are available but they key to this are the witnesses to your signature. You may want to write it yourself and then have a lawyer witness the signing of the Will. If you handwrite you’re Will then you don't need to have it witnessed. But the entire document must be in your handwriting no typing allowed.
The Power of Attorneys - Personal or Health
Personal - This gives someone consent to act on your behalf if you can't due to physical or mental disabilities. The Power of Attorney goes into effect only when you are incapacitated or you authorize it. So it can be signed and ready to be used but only takes effect when you are ready to use it. You don't need a lawyer to prepare these - there are kits on the internet, there are kits that the government have where you can fill in the blanks. But if you have an extensive estate I would take it to the lawyer because their could be other issues that need to be dealt with.
Health – This Power of Attorney outlines what you want to happen in case of medical emergency, for example, do you want to be revived if there is no hope of recovery, is the most common reason, maybe the type of treatment that you want to receive for the particular illness you have. This Power of Attorney protects your health rights when you can't speak for yourself and it gives someone else the right to speak for you. In the Power of Attorney you would outline your request and designate someone to carry them out.
Bank - This one designates someone to look after your finances if you aren't able to do them. The banks have special procedures and these forms are completed at the bank. So if you became ill then your designated person can take care of your finances until you are ready to resume doing them.
The Power of Attorneys and the Wills are legal documents and they can be revoked or changed at any time. If your estate is very large then I would suggest that you have a lawyer prepare these documents to protect your interest.
Again, the law does not have the same rules as a married spouse so this would protect the surviving partner in a common-law relationship.
I realize that most of the subjects that are discussed on this site are concerning growing your business but I deal with the hidden aspect of the business as well and these could affect your business as much as if you can't find that next client.
Happy and Prosperous New Year Everyone
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