Wills and Estates Lawyer / Probate Lawyer
You Need a Will: If you have children or property, you should absolutely have a Will. At Lecky Quinn, we strive to understand your personal objectives and values, so that we may structure your affairs in the best possible manner. Not only do you get peace of mind by structuring your affairs in advance, but generally much is saved in terms of taxes, probate fees and legal costs - the modest cost now is saved many times over. We are also experienced in probating estates from simple to complex, including where beneficiaries are located outside PEI.
Estate Planning: Planning on the best way to limit taxation and leave your property on your death. We will work with you to structure the will and overall estate plan to meet your objectives, such as reducing probate and other fees and capital gains taxes (ie, 50% of gain in value of assets x applicable tax rate).
Wills: Preparation of wills to dispose of your property on your death. A will is generally the main tool used to transfer your assets on passing. It contains provisions which gifts assets to individuals and charities, appoint guardians for your children, set up trusts for dependant children, etc. You should choose an executor(s)/executrix(es) that you trust since that is the person who will hold your property on trust for the beneficiaries and exercise the powers in your will. A will can be executed so long as the person is mentally capable. It is wise to have alternate executors and substitute beneficiaries. Note that PEI law, as a general rule, will not recognize a holographic (handwritten) will. If you die without a will, your property will be divided in accordance with the PEI Probate Act. Proper execution is vital.
Powers of Attorney: Preparation of powers of attorney which operate should you become mentally unable of managing your affairs (enduring). The appointed person (the "attorney") is able to deal with your property (ie, financial and legal affairs) and therefore you should choose someone you trust. It is wise to have an alternate attorney. You can have multiple attorneys as well. The powers can be limited. A power of attorney can be executed so long as the person is mentally capable. If you have not appointed an attorney and become incapacitated, the Public Trustee (a government official) will make decisions on your behalf. Proper execution is vital.
Note there are different types of powers of attorney. Most people, when they talk about them, are referencing an "enduring" power of attorney which operates when you are incapacitated. But there are also "general" and "specific" powers of attorney. These operate when you are capable of manage your affairs but wish to allow your chosen "attorney" to manage your affairs on your behalf (such as a specific task like selling property).
Health Care Directive: Preparation of health care directives. In other jurisdictions these may be referred to as living wills. These, like enduring powers of attorney, become operative when you become mentally incapacitated. The difference is that with a health care directive the appointed person (the "proxy") is able to make decisions regarding your health care. Unique to a health care directive is that the appointed person (proxy) must be made aware that he/she was appointed and sign an acknoledgment. The directive may provide a value statement to help guide your proxy, and may specify treatments you do not want, for instance. Obviously it is important to appoint someone you trust, and you can appoint alternatives or multiple people. Proper execution is vital.
Letters Probate: Handling of probate and the administration of estates. An applications for letters probate is often needed for estates so that the assets in the estate can be distributed. For example, probate will be needed if land is to flow through the estate (wouldn't be needed however if the land was held in joint tenancy as the survivorship principle applies). As for RRSPs and insurance funds, if a beneficiary is directly chosen with your bank or insurer, generally these funds will not need to go through the estate. Often banks will require probate for accounts with significant wealth.
Letters Administration: If a person dies without a will, an application for letters of administration is used. It is similar to letters probate.
Resealing applications and Ancillary letters: These are for estates which have been granted probate elsewhere in the world, such as a US state or another Canadian province, and require a grant here in PEI.
Other matters: We can assist with a variety of other matters as well (its impossible to list them all).