Wills & Powers of Attorney in the Kootenays
At Trillo, Perello & Yates, we are proud to serve the estate planning needs of clients in the Kootenays. If you are interested in drafting a Will or Power of Attorney, please call Troy Trillo today. For answers to a list of the most commonly asked questions we receive, please see our frequently asked questions.
Estate Planning and Administration Services
Services provided by our practicing estate lawyer, Troy Trillo, include:
Wills and Estate Planning
Having your affairs in order and a Will drawn can be a huge relief to family members when you die. Not only does it ease the burden on family members, but it is the best way to ensure that your intentions and wishes will be followed. However, making a Will is only one part of an estate plan. When a client asks us to prepare a Will, we take a more comprehensive approach, incorporating estate planning, Wills, Powers of Attorney and health care considerations.
We ask our clients to start by filling out a questionnaire. While this may take some time to complete, it serves 3 purposes:
- It helps with estate planning.
- It saves time during our meeting, thus keeping our rates affordable.
- It’s a useful checklist for your executor when the time comes for them to make an inventory of your estate assets.
Once the questionnaire is complete (it doesn’t have to be 100%, and we realize there will be questions), then we arrange a time to review the questionnaire, answer questions, and consider some estate planning issues. With proper estate planning, you can save time and money by bypassing probate, possibly altogether. We ask that you check to see if you have designated beneficiaries on life insurance policies and registered investments (and some non-registered are now eligible). We also discuss bank accounts, title to real property (land) and vehicles and consider whether joint tenancies would be prudent. This generally applies to spouses, and we typically do not recommend that children be added as joint tenants, due to the complications that can create like loss of control, taxes, creditor claims, etc., plus the Supreme Court of Canada Decisions in Pecore v. Pecore,  1SCR 795, 2007 SCC 17 and Madsen Estate v. Saylor,  1 SCR 838, 2007 SCC 18. You will also notice questions pertaining to Powers of Attorney and health care decisions on the questionnaire. A Will only has effect when you die. Until then, if you need someone to assist with financial or health care decisions, we need to look at other options. Most commonly people opt just for the Power of Attorney, but everyone is unique and we strive to ensure that whether you choose to prepare or skip documents relating to health care, that you make an informed decision.
Single Will—basic $280.00 + $10 office costs + GST/PST
2 Mutual Wills (two mirror wills, generally used between spouses, where the terms are the same, only names reversed)—basic $340 + $14 office costs + GST/PST (this is the combined cost for both, they are not $340 each)
Please note, 60% of our wills can be done for the basic rates indicated above, and another 30% can be done for no more than an additional $50. Additional time and costs (at $260/hr) may apply if more complex issues arise, such as:
Blended Family (children from previous relations)
Trusts for disabled children (Henson Trust)
Trusts beyond the age of 19
Disinheriting a Child or Spouse
Long Lists of Assets and Beneficiaries
Please see our FAQ section for more information about complex issues.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in relation to financial, legal and real estate matters. This is often a spouse, followed by a child as a backup. Some people think a Power of Attorney to their spouse is unnecessary, as everything is already in joint names; but they are forgetting that joint tenancy will really only help with the bank accounts, but won’t be of much assistance with respect to real property or legal matters. If you don’t have a power of attorney, the main option you have is to hope someone you trust applies for a committee order, but the cost and time of this is exponentially greater than choosing and preparing your own Power of Attorney. We will discuss all the various versions, including General, Springing, Enduring and limited Powers of Attorney. We generally recommend a General Enduring Power of Attorney with one alternate. Some people think naming two people concurrently is a good idea, but we discourage this. If the two people can act independently, it can just lead to confusion. If they have to act unanimously, a disagreement can mean that nothing gets done, and they often end up in court.
Single Power of Attorney—when done with a will, $95 + $5 office costs + GST/PST
Single Power of Attorney—without a will, $150 + $12 office costs + GST/PST
2 Mutual/Mirror Powers of Attorney—when done with a will, $125 + $8 office costs + GST/PST (this is the combined cost for both)
2 Mutual/Mirror Powers of Attorney—without a will, $185 + $15 office costs + GST/PST (this is the combined cost for both)
Representation Agreements, Living Wills and Advance Medical Directives
For health care decisions, you can choose to consider a Living Will, Representation Agreement or Advance Medical Directive. Living Wills aren’t really a legally binding document, more just an expression of your wishes if the end is near and you want them to pull the plug. Sometimes having this in writing is comforting and useful in justifying their actions when your next of kin has to make a tough call. A section 9 Representation Agreement is your best tool if you want to have a legally binding document that appoints someone to make health care and personal care decisions on your behalf. If you don’t have either a Representation Agreement or Advance Medical Directive, then generally your next of kin would be asked as a temporary decision maker to make these decisions for you. For many people, that is just fine, and no documentation is required. In other instances, particularly if you don’t have a spouse, or you don’t believe your children or other next of kin would all make the right decision for you, then a Representation Agreement is a very good idea. We also have to caution that a temporary decision maker is not able to make “personal care” decisions. We review these options with you and then you can decide if you need any of these. The Nidus Registry is a great, economical resource for those wishing to prepare a Representation Agreement on their own.
Single Representation Agreement—when done with a will, $140 + $10 office costs + GST/PST
Single Representation Agreement—without a will, $180 + $14 office costs + GST/PST
Mutual/Mirror (2) Representation Agreement—when done with a will, $160 + $12 office costs + GST/PST
Mutual/Mirror (2) Representation Agreement—without a will, $195 + $16 office costs + GST/PST
Living Wills – basic, when done with a will, $50 (for 2) + GST/PST
Advance Medical Directives – we are not recommending these at this time.
Grants of Probate and Administration
Should the time come where you need to apply for a Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or Administration (if there isn’t a Will), we’re here to assist you. We can advise you of your rights and responsibilities as executor/administrator, provide you with checklists and help with the application process and forms. As an executor/administrator, you are entitled to retain the services of a lawyer, accountant and other professionals to assist you, and the cost of that should generally be borne by the estate. We try to keep our fees reasonable, and for a simple estate, our fees can be as low as 4 hours at $250/hr up to obtaining the grant. Once we receive the grant, some people don’t require our services, they personally deal with filing taxes, clearance certificates and distributing the estate. We’re always available to assist with communicating with beneficiaries, advertising for creditors, obtaining releases and consents, calculating compensation for the executor, passing accounts and distributing the estate. Again, these services are provided based on our hourly rate.
Fees are based on an hourly rate ($250/hr) starting as low as $960.00 + taxes and disbursements for a simple Probate application (not including passing accounts or income tax issues).
Basically, most initial appointments for a Will and Power of Attorney will take 45 minutes to 60 minutes if you have the questionnaire completed. There is then approximately 45 minutes to draft both the Wills and Powers of Attorney, and then 40 minutes for the second appointment to review and sign. Accordingly, if we’re still talking 90 minutes into our first appointment, there are likely some complications and we are going beyond the basic rate.