How to build your legacy: A Q & A with a tax planning lawyer
Joyce Lee, Q.C.
Partner, Deloitte Legal Canada LLP
Member of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Chinese-Canadian Planned Gift Committee
The Power of Wills
A Will is an essential document that ensues your wishes and values are carried into the future. It’s important to revise your Will at different stages of life, as your assets and circumstances change.
Every update to your Will is an opportunity to consider a gift to your favourite charity to ensure your values continue well into the future.
Update your will at these key stages of life so that nothing, and no one, is missed.
Q: Why create a Will? What does it avoid?
A: Having a Will avoids the additional time, expense and confusion to family members when they have to decide who will take responsibility of the administration of the estate. Otherwise, the administrator needs to do the extra step of getting consensus from other family members and applying to the Court for approval to act.
Q: Why is it important to create a Will when you are healthy?
A: An estate plan will evolve with changes in a person’s life and often takes time and a clear mind to settle. It would be best not to leave the planning until a critical event has occurred. We cannot predict health and capacity issues, which can arise unexpectedly.
Q: Are there other documents that would be helpful to have crafted at the same time as your Will?
A: Powers of attorney and representation agreements should be discussed at the same time as a Will. These cover financial and health situations, and more.
Q: Why should you not leave everything to one person and trust them to distribute your estate using instructions NOT in the Will?
A: If a testator’s wishes are not recorded in their Will, there is no accountability to the rightful beneficiaries. There is a high risk that gifts to beneficiaries and charities will not be fulfilled. In addition, if a donation is not contained in the Will, the charity cannot issue a charitable tax receipt to the estate.
Joyce Lee, Q.C. is a partner at Deloitte Legal Canada LLP, a wife and a mother to two teenage daughters. As a member of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Chinese-Canadian Planned Gift Committee for the past 17 years, she has spoken at numerous seminars on the topic of planned gifts.