Will & Power of Attorney Information Page
What Do I Need to Know Before My
KEEP YOUR WILL SAFE!
You must keep your will in a safe place! If your beneficiaries, trustees or executors predecease you or otherwise become incapable of acting or receiving your assets, you must also update your will.
EXECUTING YOUR WILL AND/OR POWER(S) OF ATTORNEY
It is recommended that you have your documents executed at one of our offices (free of charge), or you can choose to execute your documents elsewhere. If you choose the latter option, please take a look at the following steps:
Step 1: Review your Documents
Thoroughly review your documents to ensure you understand everything. Once you are satisfied, print out all of the documents to arrange for signing.
Step 2: Arrange for Witnesses
Your Will and/or Power(s) of Attorney must be signed as soon as the drafting appointment is complete in front of two independent and impartial witnesses; (failure to do so will result in the invalidity of your Will and/or Power(s) of Attorney) with the following requirements:
- Witnesses must be over the age of 18 with a sound mind
- With respect to your will, witnesses cannot be a beneficiary or spouse of a beneficiary under your will
- With respect to your Power of Attorney(s), witnesses cannot be one of the following:
- Your spouse or partner, child, or someone you treat as your child,
- Your attorney, or your attorney’s spouse or partner (your “attorney” refers to the person(s) you have appointed as your power of attorney, rather than a lawyer),
- Anyone who has a ‘Guardian of Property’ appointed for them by a court because they are not mentally capable of managing their property,
- Anyone who has a ‘Guardian of the Person’ appointed for them by a court because they are not mentally capable of making their own personal care decisions.
- Please note that during the signing of your Will and/or Power(s) of Attorney, the only people present in the room should be you and the required witnesses.
- Please do not allow any beneficiaries, spouse of the beneficiaries and/or other interested parties to be present as this may allow for a future challenge of your Will and/or Power(s) of Attorney.
Although it is not necessary, we recommend choosing witnesses who know you as they can accurately assess your capacity and ability to make rational decisions about how you are leaving your property. If the validity of your will or signature comes into question, these individuals may have to testify in court to confirm that they were present during the time of signing the document(s). Consider asking a neighbour, friend, babysitter, and/or acquaintance at work, for example.
Step 3: The Signing Procedure
It is of utmost importance that you and the witnesses are in the physical presence of one another when each of you signs the documents. Both the testator and the witnesses must be able to see each other when each person signs (we recommend signing in blue ink, so it is easier to distinguish which documents are originals if you decide to make a copy in the future). Please do not skip any of the steps below, as Ontario laws require strict compliance.
A. Once your witnesses have been chosen, organize a time and place where everyone can be physically present for the signing.
B. Start by initialling each page before your witnesses. After you have completed this, each of the witnesses will do the same. This prevents any altering of your Will and/or Power(s) of Attorney after it is signed. Do not initial the final page with the signature line.
C. On the last page of your Will and/or Power(s) of Attorney, you MUST sign the documents before your witnesses, and they will sign after and fill in the rest of the blanks (home address). Your signature should match how you sign other important documents.
D. Make sure to fill out the date of signing as well.
E. Please ensure to email a copy of the executed documents to Axess Law to keep on record.
**Please note that there is only one original copy of the documents. It is okay to create copies, but if you have multiple original documents, it may lead to confusion as to which one is your most recent document.**
Step 4: Have a Witness Sign the Affidavit of Execution
An affidavit of execution (provided by us) is a sworn statement from one of your witnesses attesting to the fact that they witnessed you signing your Will in the presence of the other witness. We recommend that you have a witness sign this document as soon as possible after the will has been signed.
Although the affidavit of execution is not mandatory in order for your Will to be valid, signing this makes the process of getting your Will admitted to probate after your death much easier for your family.
Once the affidavit of execution is signed, you can keep it with your Will.
POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR PROPERTY
You may name a person or persons “Attorney(s)” to act on your behalf concerning your financial
matters. It is recommended that you provide the fully signed executed document to your
financial institutions right away and inquire about other documents for you and your Attorney(s)
POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR PERSONAL CARE
You may authorize a person or persons “Attorney(s)” to make decisions for you concerning medical treatment, admission to care facilities and personal care decisions. Any instructions that you feel particularly strongly about should be relayed to your Attorney and included in your Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Hence, it is important that your Attorney know your wishes ahead of time.