Wills & Estates
Advance planning for you and your loved ones often includes preparing a will and power of attorney, deciding upon your future health care options, and starting a succession plan for your business. At Thomas Butler LLP, we know these issues can be personally sensitive and legally complex. Our Kelowna wills and estate lawyers first develop an understanding of your financial and personal family needs before providing you with planning options.
Business owners sometimes require complex advice that includes the participation of their tax, investment and insurance advisors. We work with those advisors to develop a comprehensive plan to provide for succession.
Estate and Probate Work
The distribution of a deceased's assets in accordance with their will commonly requires a grant of probate from the court. Probate is the court-supervised process by which an executor is appointed to carry out the wishes of the deceased and to legally deal with their assets. Our professionals at Thomas Butler LLP help executors efficiently obtain probate and carry out their duties in distributing estate assets.
A consultation with a lawyer is a prudent first step to discover and act upon your legal options for your will or the estate of a loved one. Personal service and relationship building with clients are among the hallmarks of our firm. We believe in being available for clients to answer questions and provide advice as needed. As your law firm, you can feel comfortable knowing the advice you receive is given with your best interests in mind.
A will can provide a number of benefits no matter what your stage of life. If you are a couple just starting out, what's most important to you is likely your under age children. Your will is where you appoint guardians for those children and set up a trust fund (which can include your life insurance) for their care and education.
By comparison, people in later stages of life, or people with blended families, can have more complex needs. No one wants to leave their estate in disarray. Having a will gives each person the assurance that their loved ones are protected and provided for and that their assets will be distributed as they wish.
At the same time we discuss your will, we can address any questions you might have about your future health care. In British Columbia, options range from living wills to advance care directives to representation agreements.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Each individual can grant another person (an "attorney") the legal authority to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of that individual. This authority is established by a document called a power of attorney. Powers of attorney do not deal with an individual's health care. See the reference to future health care in Wills above.
Powers of attorney can be customized to fit many different circumstances. Sometimes a power of attorney is triggered only when the individual is no longer mentally capable of managing their own financial and legal affairs. Sometimes a power of attorney is necessary to deal with real estate while the individual is out of the country. And there are many more situations. We advise clients on the type of power of attorney that best fits their needs.
Our estate work includes acting as executors and estate litigation. As experienced lawyers committed to personal service to families and businesses throughout the region, we pride ourselves on maintaining long-term client relationships.
Trust creation is a legal tool for individuals who wish to preserve wealth for the long term. The financial benefits of a trust to a privately owned business include tax freezes on past retained earnings and tax optimization of future income generated by the business.
Family assets, not connected to a business, are also candidates for estate planning. The family home can be passed on to the next generation outside of the context of a will, if the circumstances warrant doing so.