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Estate planning: Who will do the talking when you cannot?

Do you avoid any thoughts about your own mortality? If you do, you are not alone. Few people in the greater Ontario area want to consider death or incapacitation. However, neglecting to attend to estate planning can make life tough for your loved ones if you should die or lose the ability to make your own medical or financial decisions. Spending a bit of time on drafting an estate plan, and updating it as needed, can avoid having a stranger make those decisions on your behalf.

Consider the fact that you may suffer a stroke or be involved in a crash that leaves you in a state in which you cannot communicate your wishes. Would you want to be kept alive by machines? Furthermore, while you are incapacitated, who will handle your financial affairs? You can resolve these issues by giving someone you trust power of attorney for decision making on your behalf.

Two different needs for powers of attorney exist. To handle your financial affairs and protect your assets, you can appoint an attorney for property. This can be any trustworthy person such as one of your children, your spouse or even your lawyer. Secondly, you can appoint a different person as a medical power of attorney who will be given the task to make sure your medical interests are protected. He or she will make decisions about your health care and living arrangements, along with any aspects related to your daily life in an incapacitated condition.

Granted, spending too much time pondering such morbid thoughts can quickly lead to procrastination. However, with the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer in Ontario, you will soon understand the rights and duties of those you appoint as powers of attorney. Such a lawyer can provide the support and guidance to set up these documents as part of your estate plan.

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