Help! I’ve been named an Estate Trustee (executor).

If you have been named or nominated as Estate Trustee (old language was Executor or Executrix) to deal with a deceased’s estate, you need not accept the nomination. You can turn it down!

It is an honour to be named an Estate Trustee. The testator or testatrix (Latin for person who wrote the will) obviously trusted you and had confidence in your abilities, judgment, and honesty. But, your first decision is whether or not to accept the nomination. Have circumstances in your life changed since you were nominated?

Being an Estate Trustee involves a great deal of work and attention to detail, particularly financial detail. It can involve making difficult and perhaps unpopular decisions. It demands a high decree of accountability (which can be enforced by the courts). And once a person takes on the role it is not easy to be removed from that role.

An Estate Trustee is usually entitled to be paid for their hard work and is always entitled to be reimbursed for their proper expenses.

Legal Sherpa® Tip

An Estate Trustee has the right to ask for the advice of a trusted advisor before making a difficult decision and the cost of getting that advice is an expense of the estate not an expense of the Estate Trustee personally.

Help! I've been named a Power of Attorney.

A person who has been asked to exercise a Power of Attorney is not obliged to do so. (And don’t start if you are not prepared to see the job through. It can be difficult to extricate oneself from the position!)

A person who exercises a Power of Attorney should seek legal advice so as to understand clearly the limitations that the law imposes on the exercise of a Power of Attorney for the Management of Property and of a Power of Attorney for Personal Care – even when limiting language does not appear in the Power of Attorney document.

Some Powers of Attorney can only be exercised if the Donor (person who signs the Power of Attorney) is incapacitated. Others allow for the exercise while the Donor is capable.

The Donee of a Power of Attorney (person who is named to act) is accountable to the Donor, if the Donor has capacity, or ultimately, to the heirs of the Donor, if the Donor is incapable. The Donee may also be called to account by the Office of the Public Trustee.

Advice for Attorneys or Healthcare Agents

Have you just learned that you are named in a Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions document?

The first information you want is a knowledge of the beliefs and wishes of the person who nominated you. In the best of situations, you can consult with the person who nominated you and ask questions. Do they have a Living Will or Advance Care Directive to give you guidance? This document is a very useful starting point for a conversation about their wishes. And if the person is unable to make choices, this document can still provide you with valuable information.

Legal Sherpa® Tip

Keep detailed records of the time you spend and the work you do so that you can be properly paid for the hard work you do and the responsibility you bear.

Help! I need a Contract.

Who would have imagined that paying attention to English grammar classes would pay legal dividends? Remember the old “who”, “why”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “how” analysis? Well, you can use the same structure to help ensure that all the important points of a written agreement are covered.

Who are the parties to the agreement? And who else has a role to play? Who is the agreement between? Have you got the right legal names and added the correct contact information: address, phone, email, etc.?

Why addresses the background to the agreement, so someone reading the contract has the context in which the agreement was formed.

What is the deal? Is it appropriately detailed?

When addresses time lines. Is time of the essence in meeting deadlines?

Where states the place of delivery or performance. The contract should also stipulate the place whose laws will regulate the parties and their conduct.

How much sets the quantities of money, work or goods to be delivered.

How often clarifies frequency and when the performance of the contract is finished.

How many ways can the contract end? Successfully? In an expensive lawsuit? With the help of a mediator? Are you properly protected in each instance?

Legal Sherpa® Tip

When writing an agreement always use the same word for the same concept. You get penalized for creative writing in legal agreements. For instance, a car should always be a car, not an automobile, or a sedan, or a vehicle. Try reading an agreement and answer the Who, Why, What, When, Where, and the Hows questions to better understand an agreement prepared by someone else.

Top 5 causes for delays in closing your new mortgage.

  1. Your bank or broker still needs paperwork signed or conditions fulfilled before they can send yourLegal Sherpa® team final mortgage instructions and advance funds.
  2. Contact information and loan numbers for existing mortgages not provided to yourLegal Sherpa®
  3. Contact information and loan numbers for Lines of Credit and other debts notprovided to yourLegal Sherpa™
  4. Your Insurance broker or agent has not forwarded an insurance binder showing newmortgagee name and address as a named insured on your policy.
  5. Proof of property tax payments to date not forwarded to yourLegal Sherpa®

 Help Your Legal Sherpa® Team Close Your New Mortgage More Quickly:

  • Check with your bank or broker that they have all necessary paperwork signed and conditions met.
  • Forward your last Mortgage Statement(s) showing your loan(s) number(s) to yourLegal Sherpa®
  • Forward your last Line of Credit Statement(s) showing your loan(s) number(s) and bank branch contact information, if applicable to yourLegal Sherpa™
  • Forward to your Legal Sherpa® team, if applicable, copies of credit card statements and other debts to be repaid as a condition of giving the mortgage.
  • Forward contact information for your insurance broker/agent and your policy  Contact your insurance broker/agent and authorize them to communicate with your Legal Sherpa® team about the new mortgage coverage.
  • Forward your current Tax Bill (or mortgage statement) showing tax payments to date