Will or Not to Will?

“An oral contract is as good as the paper it is written on.” So said Samuel Goldwyn.

And with all things as we age – a good precaution is never wasted. 

To Will or not to Will? Avoidance seems the norm for a third or more of adult Canadians. Death, Wills & Powers of Attorney and all that paperwork. This is a sensitive topic that some people find very hard to address. Some think if you make a Will you’ll die.  Well surprise, surprise – not making a Will won’t keep you alive. 

Everyone needs a Will. Lawyers suggest reviewing your Will every few years to keep it current with tax laws and inheritance rules.  Everyone also needs Powers of Attorney – one for Property and one for Personal Care.  These are legally binding documents so it’s a good idea to seek legal advice. 

An additional document is an Advanced Directive (sometimes called a Living Will). It’s not a legally binding document, but is an influential expression of the care you want and can help guide decisions for the person who is your POA for Personal Care. In it there are written guidelines to help, in the face of sophisticated medical science complicated by our living longer with complex health conditions. It gives you a chance to direct care when you can’t speak for yourself.

Choose the trusted person(s) you want and ask “are they are comfortable or willing to accept your authorization?”Make sure the language is fair, clear and concise. Check that your instructions are legal and medically possible. Also consider the state of your health.  A frail person with severe osteoporosis would be wise to check out the repercussions of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) since it is vigorous and damaging to chest and rib cage bones.  You may say you don’t want this type of intervention; but comfort, care and pain management are other types of interventions you may welcome.

Guiding others and forestalling family fights and misunderstandings where ever possible are important objectives accomplished through these documents discussed here.  Let’s face it we all want to be in charge of our lives. Good documentation goes a long way towards making this happen.

Mary Ellen Tomlinson

Leave a Reply