Will & Power of Attorney – Get Them.
Why Am I Fighting To Live, If I’m Just Living To Die?
I was trying to think of what I was going to calling this post while listening to some hip hop and then 2pac and Biggie came on and it was obvious to me. Hence the name. Its a great track, if your a fan of the 2.
I am not fighting to live though. Life is really pretty good, but I could live it a little better trying new things I tend to shy away from. It’s the second part that bears the fruit for this post… We will all die one day, there is no way around it. No one knows when, but it will happen.
Wills and Power of Attorney
As some of you know one of my goal’s has been to create a will and power of attorney. Actually it was a goal I wrote down last year and failed to do. As I put my tail between my legs and admitted not doing it, I got called out by a bunch of you. There’s no question its something that everyone should do, but especially if you have kids or dependents. You don’t want the courts deciding where your assets or kids go to, do you? Plus the system is notoriously slow, when I die I want my money/assets to be dispersed as soon as possible not locked up by the system.
Anyways me and my wife finally did it. We got our wills and power of attorney’s done. I guess we could die now, but I prefer not to. Now I’d like to state that they are way simpler than I imagined them to be and most things get done over email if you work with a actual lawyer. We had to go in for a hour to discuss it and sign the documents. Overall It cost me and the wife $560 all in to cross all the T’s and dot those I’s.
Money is a big reason why we and other’s put it off for sooo long. Personally I rather invest it, we aren’t going to die anytime soon. You know we got to stack those dividend’s right? But a will and POA (Power of Attorney) are most likely a even better investment. The piece of mind of actually getting it completed and sitting in the safe is a great feeling. Our assets and finances etc are really simple so the chance of having to change the will is low. Set it and Forget it!
It was pointed out by reader’s that I should make our will and POA with a real lawyer and spend the extra money to make sure it’s done properly, but there are a couple cheaper options out there.
The Toronto Star did a write up talking about Both Willful Wills and LegalWills.ca both are online platforms to get this stuff done and sound like good options. You can read that article here.
I also had a long time reader of the site reach out to me about her service Legalshield. Id like to point out that this isn’t a affiliate or anything. I thought it was cool that she wanted to help me get that will done and emailed me about it, so I’ll be nice and link to her. This is what we do here right? Try to bring everyone up.
From what I understand legal shield is a monthly fee for a blanket of lawyer services including wills and Poa’s. I didn’t go with her (as we dealt with our personal lawyer), but if your interested to find out more you can check the site out here.
A will is a legally binding document that lets the courts know what you would like to do with your estate and kids upon your death. You want a will that is in writing and is signed by you and witnesses. Every province/ state has different rules so make sure you do the right one for your area.
You can list out what items/assets go where or to whom or just blanket them.
When making a will you will want two people to appoint on your will. Naturally the first person should be your spouse. But if something were to happen to them as well, the 2nd person would now be the primary person. Let’s be honest anything can happen, don’t be naive. We could both be in a bad car accident and pass away.
If one of us passes it would be the others responsibility to manage our estate, by changing our mortgage title, banking info etc etc. But if we both passed essentially our whole estate would be sold off and go to our 2 kids. Your secondary person would be the one responsible to do all that work. They could use some of the proceeds of our estate to hire a lawyer and help them sort through the responsibility.
I personally choose my dad as my secondary and my wife picked her sister. This may need to be changed in the future if something happens to either of them.
We also should state what would happen to the kids if both of us were to pass away and they are the age of majority. Luckily for us this was a easy choice. My wife’s cousin. They are both wonderful people, who have done a great job raising their daughter and we know they would do a great job with our kids if it were to come down to it.
As I stated the estate would be divided among my kids but if they needed to upgrade their house to make room for 2 more kids they could use some of the estate. Because we really trust these 2 and they are good with money we stated that he could invest and use the money as he see fit outside of the general court rules.. GIC’s etc. MAKE SURE YOU TRUST THEM……….
I think making the will was the easy part, the power of attorney is tougher for sure. Keep in mind there most likely will be tax issues selling off your estate, get your executor to hire a tax professional as well.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
You will need 2 different types of power of Attorney’s. One for property and one for health. Just like before you want 2 people for each category. #1 will most likely be your spouse again and then a second.
Property – This one is pretty simple. You give someone power to do everything you could do if you were able to, but are no longer able. Pay bills, sell the house etc etc Anything really except create a will… GET THAT WILL DONE NOW!
Health – This one was hard. I found this the hardest one to do by far. Who is going to be the one to say pull the plug? Put you in a old folks home? Keep you alive when your quality of life is next to none? Funeral or Cremation?
Again with these I choose my dad as a secondary and my wife choose her sister. Whoever pulls the plug may get some backlash from other family members etc.
Talk To Them
You can write as much as you want in these forms or could talk to your people and let them know what you plan on doing. Id like to get cremated and donate all my organs for instance.
One thing I read in a book before though that I feel is important is watch how you word life support. If you say you don’t want to be on life support and just pull the plug this can be a big issue. Surgeries these days put you on life support while they do a routine heart surgery or something. This can be hard on both the doctors and power of attorney. The doctors need to do the surgery asap and assure you the patient will be fine, but the poa doesn’t want to go against the persons wishes and put them on life support….. Try to talk about quality of life vs life support.
Well we did it, the most important thing on my list of goals. Thanks for keeping me committed and calling me out to get it done. Once done, you should receive 2 copies of each piece of information. Keep the original but give the 2nd copy to your 2nd choice in each category. You and your spouse should know where the original is at all times. Keep your other important files there as well (life insurance, lawyer contact etc). Death is a emotional time for everyone, try to make it as easy on everyone as you can.
I hope this helps and even encourages you to do you own will. While the costs associated with it do suck, you will be glad to have it done.
Hey I’m Rob, creator of Passive Canadian Income.
In 2011 me and my wife had almost $60,000 in debt and a negative $7,000 Net Worth. Through hard work and financial education we paid all that off. Now we are focusing on increasing our Passive Income Streams to make the money work for us. Feel Free to Follow along the Journey by clicking the Social Media links below or subscribing to get notified of new posts on the sidebar.
Excellent article. Tip: You don’t need to buy a package to prepare your own will. There are instructions online for Canadians as to how to write their own wills. As I recall, it must be written entirely by hand, not typed. If I find the link, I will post it.
Thanks, Interesting to know, Our lawyers will is all typed out though. Well other than all the signatures. Look forward to that article if you can find it.
Appreciate the comment, cheers Helen
I put together a Will quite a few years ago (before I’d really gotten the engine going on my DGI strategy). I’m thinking it may actually even be worth revisiting it to update what I had documented at that time as so much has changed in the eight-ten years since.
Glad to see you got down to brass tacks and implemented this necessary component of any financial strategy.
Might be worth a revisit, I’m sure your estate has grown quite a bit in the last 10 years.
Thanks, it feels good to have it done.
Hey Rob, Just wanted to say I admire that you are thinking and talking about this stuff. Its not an easy topic to handle sometimes, but its very important and shouldn’t be ignored. Maybe I should make a similar goal soon too, as I am a bit guilty of taking action on this stuff too. Also – love the creative title! It’s a great track. You can’t go wrong with putting Tupac and Biggie on a track and having it produced by Eminem.
Haha glad you like the title. Old school hip hop was the best.
Wills and pow’s are definately put off to the side alot of the time. It costs alot of money for a couple pieces of paper.
The peace of mind makes it worth it though, you should try to do yours sometime soon. You will be glad you did.
Finally got a chance to read what this post is about (since I loved the title so much). I just watched All Eyez on Me on Netflix a few weeks ago (big Tupac fan).
Great reminder- we have yet to do this, need to get this done. I think we are waiting for the second baby to arrive so that we won’t have to change any details again.
Another great netflix show. Yeah makes sense. Would be frustrating setting one up and 9 months later bam. Time to change it. haha
Love the post title, and your summary of actions taken. We still haven’t done ours, and while our kids are both older (youngest will be 18 and a legal adult in about 4 months) I would still want to be explicit about how our assets are divided so it does not become contentious among family members. The opportunity for money can sometimes bring out the worst in people, so best to have our intentions clearly defined–and then hope we don’t need anyone to execute on that for many, many years.
One of my cousins asked me to be his POA for health, as he feared that everyone else would not be rational and want to hold out hope if there was even a 0.00001% chance of survival. It is a heavy topic though.
Thanks for sharing the details of what you’ve done!
Yeah i found the poa for health to be the hardest thing to think of who would be my poa. For sure its a lot riding on them, but like you mentioned I wouldnt want to be ina long term comma just because their could be a very.minor chance i come back.
Yeah money can definately change people and start drama real fast. Its nice to have it all written out and settled before you pass.
This might be a silly question… you mentioned all the paperwork, including lawyer contact information being all together in the safe to make it easy to have everything safe and together in case it was ever needed (which definitely seems like a good idea), have you passed along the safe code to your Dad and/or Shella’s sister? Or would the lawyer have the code and they would have to contact him/her for it? If so do they already know which lawyer to contact for this information?
Good points. we should make and give copys of the will and codes to the people involved for sure!
…… whos shella? haha