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Four Key Documents Everyone Should Have
A Will is not the only thing you need to ensure that your finances are in order.   

  1. WILL
    A Will is a legal document that sets out how you intend your estate to be handled after your death, a declaration by which you name a person, or persons (naming an Executor), to manage your estate and provide for the transfer of your property.  Everyone over the age of majority (18 in Saskatchewan) who has assets or dependents should have a will.  Not having a Will can create considerable hardship for family, friends and business partners.  Without a Will, your property may not be left to the people or charitable organizations you want to inherit it.  You can direct funds from your estate by making a charitable bequest to areas of ministry within the Catholic Church through the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation.
    A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to give someone else authority to act on your behalf, this person, or persons, acts as your legal representative.  The Power of Attorney for Property allows your attorney to make decisions for you during your lifetime, even if you become mentally incapable.  Your Power of Attorney (POA) can buy or sell property, enter into or defend a lawsuit, make investments and purchase things for you, and any and all financial decisions.  They can do everything except make a will for you or change your existing will.  It is important to remember that a Power of Attorney is valid as soon as it is written.  If it is for the purpose of managing your affairs if you become incompetent in the future, it is best to keep the original with your lawyer or in a safety deposit box.
    A Power of Attorney for Personal Care may be the same or a different person, or persons, to the Power of Attorney for your property.  The POA for Personal Care can be more than one person, but they must make all decisions jointly, unless you appoint them “jointly and severally”, which means either or both can make a decision.  This signed document is also for during your life time, taking care of your personal decisions such as medical treatment, housing, food, hygiene, clothing and safety.  A POA for Personal Care only comes into effect if you have become incapable of making your own decisions.  A personal attorney cannot be given the power to make health care decisions for you.  This must be done by making a health care directive.

A Health Care Directive tells others how you would like to be treated if you lose your capacity to make decisions about health care.  This directive gives your doctor or other health care provider directions about what kind of measure are acceptable to you when you can no longer communicate what you want.  To make a directive you must be at least 16 years of age and capable of making health care decisions.  The best time to make a Health Care Directive is when you are in good health, planning ahead to a time when you may not longer be able to make decisions for yourself.  A directive will take effect when you become incapable of making or communicating your health care decisions.  A directive is not and cannot permit active euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Personal And Estate Planning Considerations In Charitable Giving

Donation Option  Minimum amount required Can you revoke the gift Do you  get income or use during lifetime?  Subject to probate Charitable tax credit available? When can charity use gift?
Outright gift now of cash or property  None  No No  No  Now Immediately
Bequest under Will  None  Yes, by changing your Will prior to death Yes  Yes  After death in your final tax return or return for the preceding year After Death
RRSP/RRIF  None  Yes, by changing your beneficary election prior to your death Yes  No  After death in your final tax return or return for the preceding year After Death
Charity is owner and benficiary of inusrance policy  None  No, if you don’t pay your premium, charity can pay them, reduce death benefits or cash in policy No  No  Now and as you pay future premiums Generally after death
Charity is the only beneficiary of insurance policy  None  No Yes, if you can cash in the policy, but then there is nothing left for the charity  No  After death in your final tax return or return for the preceding year After Death
Charitable gift annuity  Depends on life insurance issuer  No Periodic payout during lifetime  No  Now, based on the present value cost of the annuity Immediately
Charitable remainder trust  $20,000 – enough to justify required legal/trust fees  No You can use property and receive all income generated  Only if gift made under your Will  Now, based on gift value adjusted for life expectancy of life tenant After death of the tenant (income beneficary)
Endowment fund  Depends on purpose – check with Charity No No  Only if gift made under your Will Now, or on death for avialable gift under Will Income immediately, or after death if gift made under your Will.