Many wonder if they need to do Estate Planning, which is simply writing down your wishes about the decisions required after a death. In addition to how you want your estate distributed, your wishes can include your choice of funeral such as burial or cremation with flowers or donation and religious service or not etc. You might also like an Irish Wake or similar gathering of friends and family so they can remember you.
The best document for Estate Planning is a Last Will & Testament commonly known as a Will. We inherited estate law from England so many of the traditions continue today, with some variations in different jurisdictions. In British Columbia, a Will is valid if in writing signed at the end in the presence of two witnesses.
Of course, for anything important, it best to have professional advice. Nothing is as easy or as simple as we want it to be especially if important. Different words mean different things so the words above your signature need to accurately describe your wishes. One of the many benefits of an estate lawyer is their knowledge of the similar but different clauses available to accurately reflect the wishes of the testator.
Now a Will only "speaks from death" meaning it has no effect until after the death of the testator. Thus you need other documents to provide your wishes before death including a Power of Attorney, a Health Directive and a Representation Agreement.
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