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November 2023

Important Items to Bring to Your Lawyer Appointment for Drafting a Will and Power of Attorney

By Estates
Wills consultation

Drafting a will and power of attorney (POA) are significant steps in managing your estate and ensuring your wishes are honored. When you’re preparing for an appointment with your lawyer to discuss these documents, it’s essential to come prepared. Here’s a good guide to help you make the most of your visit.

1. Identification and Basic Information

– Photo ID: Bring a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport. This helps the lawyer verify your identity.
– Contact Information: Your address, phone number, and email are crucial for communication and official documentation.

 

2. Family Details and Beneficiary Information

– Spouse/Partner and Children’s Details: Names, birthdates, and social security numbers of your spouse and children (if applicable).
– Other Beneficiaries: Information about anyone else you wish to include in your will, like friends or charities.
– Guardian Designations: If you have minor children, consider who you would want as their guardian.

 

3. Financial Documentation

– Asset List: A detailed list of your assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and valuable personal property.
– Debt Information: Details of any debts or liabilities, like mortgages or personal loans.
– Insurance Policies: Life insurance, disability insurance, and any other relevant policies.
– Retirement Accounts: Information on RRSPs, TFSAs, or other retirement plans.
– Business Ownership Documents: If you own a business, bring relevant documents like partnership agreements.

 

4. Legal Documents

– Existing Legal Documents: Previous wills or POAs, divorce decrees, prenuptial agreements, or any other relevant legal papers.
– Healthcare Directives: If you have existing healthcare directives, bring them for review.

 

5. Details for Power of Attorney

– POA Candidate Information: Names and contact details of the person or people you want to designate as your attorney-in-fact.
– Scope of Authority: Consider the powers you wish to grant, such as financial decisions, healthcare decisions, or both.
– Duration and Conditions: Decide when the POA should come into effect and any specific conditions or limitations.

 

6. Digital Assets

– List of Digital Assets: Include online bank accounts, social media accounts, digital currencies, and any other relevant digital assets.
– Access Information: Don’t bring your passwords, but be prepared to discuss how someone in charge of your affairs may be able to access your digital assets.

 

7. Personal Wishes and Instructions

– Specific Bequests: Instructions for specific items or sums of money to be left to certain individuals or organizations.
– Anything else that you would like the lawyer to discuss adding to your documents.

 

8. Questions and Concerns

– List of Questions: Prepare any questions or concerns you have regarding the will and POA process.

 

9. Open Mind and Readiness to Discuss Sensitive Topics

– Mental Preparation: Be ready to discuss sensitive topics like end-of-life wishes, family dynamics, and financial matters.

 Conclusion

Preparing a will and power of attorney is a thoughtful process that requires careful consideration. By bringing the necessary items and information to your lawyer appointment, you can ensure that your estate planning is comprehensive and aligns with your wishes. Remember, these documents are not just about distributing your assets; they’re about peace of mind and the security of knowing your affairs are in order, even in unforeseen circumstances.

This preparation not only facilitates a smoother process but also provides a clearer understanding of your estate, potentially revealing opportunities for financial planning and family discussions.

In summary, taking the time to gather these essential items and information before your appointment can make the process of drafting a will and power of attorney both efficient and effective, ultimately providing you and your loved ones with security and clarity for the future.