Calgary Lawyers Assisting Clients with Personal Directives
An important part of planning for your future and that of your family is to consider a personal directive, which is a legal document appointing someone to represent your wishes on personal or medical matters.
A personal directive is a legal document allowing you to name a person or persons that you trust (e.g. family member, close friend, etc.) to make personal decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose mental capacity. That person then acts as your agent.
Personal directives may be needed for a short time (e.g. if you are unable to make decisions due to a passing serious illness or injury), or they may be required for the remainder of your life (e.g. if you suffer a traumatic brain injury or have a progressive condition such as Alzheimer’s).
Irrespective of the length of time it covers, a personal directive will outline the scope of the decision-making authority of your agent. You can also include specific instructions and wishes. Your instructions can be about any personal matters that are non-financial including health care, end of life care, where you would like to live/who you would like to live with, etc.
Other Tools Available for Forward Planning
When you hear “personal directive” you may also think of similar, but distinct legal tools such as “Powers of Attorney,” “Wills,” or “Estate Plans.” While all of these work towards the same goals of protecting your interests and your family’s future, there are important distinctions in what they each provide. Decisions about which of these tools may be best for you should be made with the careful guidance and advice of a knowledgeable Estate lawyer.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney provides someone (i.e. the Attorney) with the authority to look after your legal or financial needs.
Attorneys are chosen by the grantor while that grantor is still capable of making decisions. The Attorney acts as the Grantor’s proxy and makes decisions for them when the Grantor is unable to do so (e.g. is on a long business trip or vacation), if the Grantor is ill or injured, or when the Grantor is no longer able to make decisions on their own.
A Will outlines what you wish to have happen to your assets when you pass away. It allows you to divide your property amongst whomever you choose in whichever manner you wish.
For many people, a Will provides an opportunity to ensure the wellbeing of their family and loved ones. A Will also allows you to name a trusted person to administer your Will and ensure your wishes are met.
An Estate Plan prepares your Estate for the future and addresses important matters including how your investments will be handled, how your bills and debts will be paid, how you would like your children cared for, how you want your business affairs to be handled (including whether you want your business to be sold or taken over by your children or other loved ones).
It is important to discuss these options with a knowledgeable Estate lawyer who can advise you on your options and help you craft a solution that is best for you.
What Happens If No Personal Directives Are in Place?
Confirming how you want personal decisions made on your behalf is one important aspect of a personal directive. The other aspect is naming someone who can represent those issues for you.
If you were to become unable to make medical or personal decisions without having appointed someone through a personal directive, friends or family members would have to apply to the courts to be appointed to do so.
If no friends or family were able to take on that role, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of Alberta may be directed to do so. By taking the time to put together a personal directive you can ensure your wishes are met while avoiding the risk of ambiguity and conflict that may come from not doing so.
How We Can Help
The highly experienced and professional Estate lawyers at DBH Law have represented clients in all areas of Estate law for more than 25 years.
We build strong, personal relationships with our clients, advising them through some of the most important times in their lives, and ultimately helping them protect what is most important to them: their loved ones.
We are deeply familiar with the very technical area of Estate law and provide highly competent and professional advice in helping our clients realize their ultimate goals. We recognize that there are financial barriers associated with planning for your future and work hard to keep our prices reasonable, offering cost-effective fees, while producing high-quality work and superior service.
Contact DBH Law to Start Planning for Your Future
We look forward to building long lasting relationships with our clients, providing them with responsive and concise legal advice as their Estate needs grow and change over the years. Contact the experienced Estate lawyers at DBH Law in Calgary to see how we can help protect your wishes through a personal directive. We can be reached online or by phone at 403.252.9937.