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Vancouver Estate Litigation Blog

Can I revoke my will if I change my mind?

You've written your will and were very happy with it at the time. But circumstances change. Maybe you're getting married. Maybe you are disagreeing with a planned beneficiary and want to delete them from your will. Maybe your newborn child must be included in your will. Perhaps a beneficiary has died with no heirs for your bequest to go to - or has died and you don't want to leave anything to your proposed beneficiary's heirs.

Would a guardianship benefit your loved one?

Realizing that an aging loved one may no longer be able to care for him or herself can be disheartening. To watch someone that you used to look up to and rely on throughout your life decline physically and/or mentally may lead you to decide that he or she needs help.

Perhaps you already decided that your loved one needs a guardianship, but you aren't sure where to begin or what it means for your loved one.

Will preparation is necessary for a well-rounded estate plan

You're probably not running around frantically trying to write your will. No one likes to think about his or her own demise, but the fact is, writing a will is the only certain way you have of letting your loved ones know your last wishes.

So, if you want to leave certain things to certain people in the aftermath of your passing - like money, personal items, property or your pet Iguana - a will is the estate planning document in which to spell it all out.

Ensuring someone can make medical decisions for you if needed

Giving someone power to make healthcare decisions for you when you aren't able to make them yourself is placing a great deal of trust in that person. It's important that whomever you choose for the task is aware of your wishes and will honestly act in your best interests -- to make the decisions you likely would have made for yourself.

The person you name to fulfill this critical role via a representation agreement can make decisions on your behalf regarding your overall health care, including the likes of your nutritional needs, the clothes you wear, where you live, your hygiene and your overall safety. These are many of the items that should be discussed between you and the individual you choose for this role, and having everything written in a document, or healthcare directive, is an important part of the process.

The positives of estate planning

Estate planning is about much more than what you leave for your heirs after you die. You may even be avoiding thinking about planning your estate because you might associate it with your ultimate demise, and who wants to think about that? But it's not just about you, it's about your family too and what would be best for them.

There are many things that encompass a thorough estate plan, which typically includes directives on what you would like done should you be unable to make decisions on your own. For instance, would you want doctors to keep you alive on life support or with feeding tubes? Who would you want to take care of financial decisions on your behalf? These are the kinds of questions that your estate plan could address.

Are your parents' debts your responsibility?

Your parents may be carrying a hefty debt load. It may get to the stage where they're having trouble even meeting minimum payments. Although you may feel bad, you're probably wondering if you're in any way responsible for making those payments for them.

In short, the legal responsibility in British Columbia is not yours. However, there are some instances where this issue could get a little cloudy. When it gets dicey is when you might have signed for any debt incurred, even if the purchase wasn't for you and you didn't directly benefit from it.

Challenging disinheritance: What you need to know

Being cut out of your loved one's will may not only be shocking to you, but also unsettling and upsetting as well. Disinheritance may bring up a well of emotions and many questions, but once you have allowed yourself to feel those emotions, there may be some things you can do when querying the situation.

First, you're likely to find out that there is not just one type of disinheritance. When someone disinherits you directly from his or her estate, it's called exactly that -- direct disinheritance. In this case, the will excludes you totally. On the other hand, indirect inheritance is not getting your fair share of the deceased person's assets as set out in his or her will. In fact, it could mean that unrelated people may be receiving more than you are.