What to Know about Wills and Power of Attorney

My Post 10 0ba07d05

Bob Simpson: Welcome to our series of podcasts. Plan your estate outside the box. We’re here today to talk about estate planning in a friendly and informal way. My name is Bob Simpson and I’m here today with Nicholas Meyer, director of business development at Estate Stewards Inc. Nicholas is a trust and estate practitioner, TEP

The TEP designation is the most prestigious designation in the trusts and estate area. Nicholas has extensive experience in the trust business and the family office business. He’s been helping families and family offices in Canada and internationally with appropriate structuring of their wealth and their family.

Having worked for many different clients. Nicholas understands how unique each family is and how complex the family dynamics can be. Especially when dealing with the settlement of an estate. He is passionate about the work that he does for his clients. Now, why did we do these podcasts? Our main and primary goal is to help you to preserve family harmony and the intergenerational peace of mind.

This is our passion, our mission. How are we going to achieve that? We will share with you our stories, our experiences, and our knowledge. So let’s get started. Why does somebody need a will? And why do they need a power of attorney?

Nicholas Meyer: Basically, we all need a will and a power of attorney for the following reasons: A will because this sets out our instructions as to how our estate will be distributed between our beneficiaries.

Those people who will be designated as beneficiaries and a power of attorney is an indispensable tool when we have no longer capacity to manage our personal affairs. That someone will be able to step in and manage our health and our financial affairs. Once we are unable to manage it ourselves. Can you just drill down a bit more and just talk about what actually is a will Nicholas? There are several different types of wills, but essentially a will is a document whereby you appoint your executor, the person or the corporation, which will be in charge of settling your estate. And you indicate very clearly how you would like your assets to be distributed, who should be your beneficiaries, who should get a slice of your estate. This is basically the list of instructions to your executor.

Bob Simpson: So you’re really laying out for your executor, the rules of dealing with that estate is that, is that reasonable to say?

Nicholas Meyer: Absolutely. Basically these are the guidelines, but more than guidelines, these are the instructions that the executor has to follow now, the executor has usually quite an extensive discretionary power as to how they will settle the estate.

I will give you an example. If your house is be sold? Well, it will be up to the executor to choose the real estate agent, to have the value of the property appraised and to list it at the appraised value. This is a typical thing in an estate whereby the second spouse has just passed away and the house is vacant.

Very commonly. The house will be sold. It’s quite unusual that the house will be transferred to one of the beneficiaries. It sounds like it takes a fair bit of work and you know, one of the things. Nicholas that a phrase that I used in the introduction was think outside the box. What do you mean when we think about thinking outside the box, when you’re talking about preparing your will?

I think that people generally tend to minimize the work, which is triggered by the settlement of an estate.

People think while I have a very simple estate, it will be very quick and beneficiaries usually say after one month or two months, Oh, where’s my money? So this is not the real world in effect, I would say relatively standard estates, which will require usually up to 500, or 600 tasks to be performed in order for the estate to be settled.

And let’s not forget one thing, in the course of the settlement of the estate, Mr. Taxman steps in, and there’s always a tax bill to be paid. So, no, it’s not that easy and it’s certainly time consuming for sure. Without any doubt. I think Nicholas, when we were talking about the development of this podcast, I’d mentioned to you that I was driving to the gym one day and, saw a billboard for pre-planned funerals and they had a picture of a casket on the billboard and the slogan on the billboard was think outside the box, which I think I laughed probably for two days over that. I thought it was such a funny concept of, you know, but it is really isn’t it.

Bob Simpson: Nicholas that, you know, once you, once you’re in the box, it’s pretty difficult to plan your affairs, but you know what, what’s the real purpose of the will. Who’s it for?

Nicholas Meyer: As a matter of principle, the will is the best way to ensure that your loved ones do not fall in a black hole basically by making you will, by having this reflection, you’re putting your affairs in order when you pass away.

And it makes the life of your loved ones of your spouse, of your children, or perhaps other relatives so much easier people too often tend to overlook that and think, Oh, it’s very easy. I don’t need a will. It’s a waste of time. Waste of money. The thing is it can create such a turmoil for your loved ones for your relatives.

Think about that. That makes their life so much easier. And this is such a relief. For them from an emotional standpoint, they’re grieving. You’re loved one are grieving, they’re sad. You have passed away on top of that, if you have not made your will, you’re making their life 10 times more difficult. It’s a service in favor of your loved ones and of your close relatives.

By making your will. You will also ensure that your try as much as possible to avoid estate litigation and, you know, estate litigation is an area which is growing like mad. I would say, unfortunately, because it shows that people are more prepared to fight over an estate. But don’t forget one thing. When you’re fighting it’s with your siblings, and your relatives.

It’s awful. The family will be torn apart. At the end of the day, this will be a nightmare for your family. So in an estate litigation, let’s put it this way. There are no winners, perhaps. You will win and have more money, but basically you will have lost your family. Is it really what you want? I will leave that to you to assess.

I would not want that, to have my family being destroyed by an estate litigation. So you’re really saying Nicholas, that if you want to torture your family, don’t have a will. Is that what you’re saying? If you want to ensure that you have the perfect recipe for litigation, don’t have a will, don’t say anything, never have a talk with anyone in your family, then you’re pretty much sure that it’s going to turn into something relatively nasty. So yes. To have a will to make you will to have an open discussion with your relatives. I know it’s not an easy one. It’s really not an easy one, but this is essential.

Because by having that conversation, while you’re alive? When you have hopefully good relationships with the family members, with your children, with your spouse that will avoid so much hassle, so much pain. And so many costs you can’t even imagine. So yes, if you are saying to yourself, I don’t care what, or what’s going to happen after my death, then don’t do anything.

And yes, you are pretty much sure that it’s going to turn into something very unpleasant

Bob Simpson: But Nicholas you’re a lawyer, right?

Nicholas Meyer: Absolutely.

Bob Simpson: I thought lawyers like to run up fees, you know, but you’re, you’re saying if you want to keep your fees down, if you want, if you want to minimize the amount of money in the management of your estate.

Nicholas Meyer: You really, really, really want to keep it as rules-based, as you can so that you minimize those costs and minimize the interaction with the expensive lawyers to get the, to get the deal done. Right. But you’re a lawyer. I thought you would probably be trying to drive fees higher. You know, when you have a real ethical approach, you will always want your clients to be in the best situation and to avoid as as many fees as possible as a professional executor. Our goal is to ensure that the settlement is as smooth and as quick and as efficient as possible if things are not attended to properly whilst the testator is alive, it is going to end up in litigation.

And then you have to hire an estate litigation lawyer and that is very expensive. So basically it will cost the estate ten times less to have a proper estate planning done quietly peacefully, while you’re alive than to have, an estate litigation and to be involved in a horrible dispute with your family and as professional executors, well, obviously the fact that things are done so to speak by the book will make the process so much easier. And basically at the end of the day, the beneficiary will get the money, much quicker. If you’re involved in an estate litigation that can take five, 10 years. So during all that time, well, the money doesn’t land in the beneficiaries bank account.

So if that’s what the testator wants. That’s the real question that the, each testator should ask themselves.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. So five to 10 years, to me sounds like torture Nicholas to have to take that long, to settle an estate to sort of block assets from being distributed to your beneficiaries.

Doesn’t sound like a very, a pretty promising or very interesting way to spend your time. Is that when you talk about intergenerational peace of mind, is that what you’re you’re talking about? Can you just talk for a minute about that?

Nicholas Meyer: You are One Hundred percent, right. This. Is, it should be all Estate professionals Motto “to ensure the intergenerational peace of mind.”

The transfer of wealth from one generation to the other is not something which is straight forward, because it means that the parents in effect have to have an open discussion about money with their children and spouse, this is the real world. But by doing that, you ensure this. Intergenerational peace of mind if you don’t do that. And unfortunately, it’s a bit sad that too many people don’t want to talk about that. They say, Oh, they will figure it out after my death. No, no. After death is too late, why is it too late? Because, at that time your death impacts substantially the family dynamics, suddenly things change and things happen that you might never have expected.

How many parents have I heard saying, Oh, my children get along so well, yes, they get along as,the money is not on the table. Once the money is on the table, you can see very surprising things happening unexpected and to be honest, unpleasant things happening. So yes, that planning that discussion, that open discussion is.

The key to ensure this peace of mind for families. I mean, we are here to help the families to ensure this intergenerational peace of mind. Otherwise it’s unfortunately very likely that it will not end nicely. Yeah. and a bad ending is really not what we’re trying to achieve for most people. So, you know, if we, if we kind of want to wrap this up here, what you’re saying is if you really, really, really want to torture your family, don’t do a will.

Don’t do estate planning. If you wish to achieve intergenerational peace of mind, spend, a bit of money. It’s not that expensive. Is it to, get a will set up? It’s not that expensive and it’s, nothing compared to the costs, whether financial or emotional of an estate litigation, it’s nothing.

There’s no comparison whatsoever between the cost of preparing your will and power of attorney and, being embroiled in an estate litigation. And, you know, we have been talking about that. Financial costs, but I will never stress enough, the emotional burden, which is put on everybody’s shoulder. It’s awful.

You’re grieving the loss of your father. You’re grieving the loss of your mother and you’re fighting with your siblings at the same time. I don’t find that extraordinary. I don’t find that fantastic. And we should do everything we can do to avoid that this is really our goal and our mission. We don’t really feel that that’s acceptable, right.

To put your family through this kind of disharmony and upset during a period that is already emotionally taxing on them.

Bob Simpson: So, anyway, thanks, Nicholas, we’re going to do this on a regular basis. We’re going to drill down on a number of topics over time. The idea here really is to, take the time, to establish a will, to do some estate planning, to minimize the frustration and upset that your family will go through to establish, intergenerational peace of mind so that, when your family is dealing with a really difficult period, planning your funeral etc., let’s not add extra burden.

Let’s make it as simple as possible. Thank you for tuning into this episode of Planning your estate outside the box. We hope that you found the information valuable. If you have questions or suggestions for future topics, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at info@estatestewards.com. or visit our website www.Estatestewards.com. If you enjoy this podcast and would like to be notified regarding future episodes. Please subscribe on the podcast player of your choice. If you’re listening on YouTube, you can subscribe to this channel. There’s also a text version of this post available on our website. The link is available. In the description. So just simply visit www.estatestewards.com. Thanks to everybody for tuning in to this episode of find your estate outside the box.

The post What to Know about Wills and Power of Attorney appeared first on Estate Stewards.