November 29, 2020

From Chapter 9 of Heal Thy Wealth: How Doctors Are Misdiagnosing Their Own Financial Health And What They Can Do About It. KINDLE NOW ON AMAZON: click here

Wills and Powers of Attorney

Do you need to have a will? The answer is simple: Yes. However, 7 out of 10 doctors who I meet with have not made a will. Do you really need to have Powers of Attorney in place? The answer is also an emphatic yes.


I would like to acknowledge that some of the doctors reading this chapter are aware of Powers of Attorney and that the following scenario could happen to you too. Picture this: You are in a car accident, are being rushed to the hospital, your spouse has been informed, and they are also en route to the hospital. A critical life and death decision needs to be made, and to protect him/herself the doctor turns to your spouse and says, “In order for you to make this decision, I need to see the Powers of Attorney for Personal Care.” If your spouse cannot produce this document, then your spouse has no authority to make any decisions on the course of your medical treatment.


 The Will

 If a person passes away without a will, it is referred to as “dying intestate.” If this occurs, then the property of the deceased will be distributed according to the provisions of the provincial law relating to intestate succession. However, this can be challenged if a surviving spouse files a claim under the provincial family property law. These challenges by your surviving spouse can sometimes take years to settle.


I witnessed a case in which someone had passed away intestate, and they had a spouse and three children. All three children were under the age of 10. The provincial courts decided to split up the deceased’s estate into four equal parts, and the spouse ended up with 25% of the estate. The remaining 75% was placed into trusts for the children, and when they reached the age of 18, they were to be given their share without any strings attached. I am confident that this was not what the deceased wanted to happen, but if you pass away without a will, you leave it up to the courts to decide what is in the best interest of your estate.


Do not trust the “instant wills” on the Internet. If you use a will template from the Internet, the company that supplies this template will not take any responsibility for your will being made correctly. If you make any mistakes that cause problems when your will is read, there will be no legal recourse at all. Furthermore, using the wrong wording could mean that your instructions will not be followed, or that your will not be valid. If your will is determined to be invalid, then the government may still decide who your assets should go to. The bottom line is that you should work with your financial planner to get the necessary components of your will thought out, and then meet with a lawyer to get your written will finalized.


Four Reasons Why You Need To Have A Will:


1.     It will make it much easier for your family to sort everything out upon your passing, and it will alleviate some of the stress that comes from losing a loved one.


2.     A will can help to reduce the taxes that may be payable on the value of the assets that you leave behind.


3.     If you don’t write a will, then everything that you own will be divided out in a standard way as defined by law, which might not be the way that you wanted it to be.


4.     If you have children or other family members who are dependent upon you financially, then it is especially important that you have a will to indicate how they will be cared for upon your passing.


From Chapter 9 of Heal Thy Wealth: How Doctors Are Misdiagnosing Their Own Financial Health And What They Can Do About It. KINDLE NOW ON AMAZON: click here