Why Do You Forsake Family?

By coincidence, this happened a week before Mother’s Day.

“I never thought my life would come down to this,” Sharon said. She was an 85 year old mother explaining her fears. She was sitting in a dark leather chair in my law office.

Sharon had told my law clerk she needed my help to protect herself. “I have worked all my life since I was sixteen. No one ever handed me a dollar for free. I helped all my children by paying for their homes and even a couple of divorces.”

“You are a good mother, but I how can I help you?”

“And now this is my reward.” Sharon had not heard my question.

She continued, “My children want to take control of my money and house. It sure looks like they want to move me into a home.”

I asked, “Why would they want to do that?”

Sharon was waiting for someone to ask her that question.

“Simple. I figured it out. Once I am in a home, they can then divide up my money. They can then split the proceeds from the sale of my house.”

Powers of Attorney

“They told me I can’t stop them since I gave them a power of attorney. Can you protect me from my children?”

As a lawyer, I knew I was hearing only one side of the story.

“Sharon,” I asked, “Can you prove any of these things?”

“My children say I have dementia. Nobody will believe me. What can I do?”

“Well, the first thing is to fix the problem. Do you want to make a new power of attorney? Who would you trust if not your family?”

“That’s funny. My children have been a disappointment. I feel really bad admitting that to you, but I no longer trust them.”

I asked, “What if we arranged a family meeting to discuss your concerns? But before we do that I must make sure you legally can change your power of attorney.”

Sharon asked, “Why wouldn’t I be able to do that?”

I explained this to her in detail:

“If you have dementia, it may affect your memory and ability to make legal decisions. I can arrange to have an expert assess your capacity to make financial decisions.

Otherwise, your children may go to court. They can ask a court to declare your new legal documents invalid and claim they must be allowed to protect you from yourself.

A judge would listen to both sides of this case. You want to prove you are not paranoid or incapable of making financial decisions.

  • You can name a trust company or a professional to act as your attorney.
  • You are not required to name your family members.
  • Ensure no one will be in a conflict of interest acting as your attorney.
  • Your power of attorney can stipulate that you can afford to stay in your home.
  • You can require your attorney to spend your money to keep you in your home. This condition can appear in your power of attorney.”

Sharon was happy she did not have to name her family as her attorneys. She could cancel the powers of attorney and make new ones. She did not trust her family to control her money.

Is your family any different than Sharon’s?

I am reminded of this quote:

– Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I have a number of posts about powers of attorney on my law firm website. The most recent is entitled:

Do You Have These Problems with Powers of Attorney?

About Edward Olkovich

Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu. Visit his website, mrwills.com for more free valuable information.

© Edward Olkovich 2013


Estate Planning Resolutions – 3 Easy Estate Tips to Use Before Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is coming, and I am making plans already. My lists include who is coming over to watch the game, what to eat and drink. I’m digging up recipes for dips, wings and chili. I have time to stock up on exotic beers. And, oh, some low carb beers to help keep some resolutions.

Are you still trying to keep your resolutions? If you wanted to create an estate plan there’s still time. I’ll give you three tips to get it done before the big game.

To make it easier, I have a bonus to help. It’s a free ebook I wrote called “Are You Risking Your Family’s Future?” It will score a touchdown for your family. You have no obligations.

Three tips to make your estate plan resolutions

It’s not too late to complete your estate planning resolutions. You have three weeks before the game. That is enough time to do it.

1. Set a date.

Having a target to sign estate planning documents helps you follow through on resolutions. You need to find the right lawyer to give you two appointments. The first will be to review your needs and legal requirements. The second date is to sign your documents before February’s game.

Everyone doing estate planning can benefit from proper legal advice. If you are so sure your online forms will work, have a lawyer check them. Make sure you use lawyers who spend at least 25% of their time making wills.

2. Do something every day.

Start the conversation with your family over coffee. Read my free estate planning guide, Estate Planning: 7 Keys to Success. It’s a plain language how to guide.

Meeting with a lawyer can be stressful. Find out if you will be charged by a block fee or by time. Either way, make sure you come prepared. Make a list of your questions. This ensures you get the most from your meeting.

3. Plan a reward.

Estate planning is the right thing to do for your loved ones. Having powers of attorney can also protect you and your money. So celebrate super bowl style with a party. It does not have to be more expensive than having jumbo shrimp or real crab in the dip. Promise yourself something for a job well done.

Include Wills and Powers of Attorney in your plan

Your Estate Plan has a variety of tools, including these three documents:

1) Will to name executors to distribute your property.

2) Power of Attorney for your financial affairs.

3) Power of Attorney for health-care decisions.

Let’s look at the essential documents you’ll need:

 1. Will

 • Names an executor and backup executor

 • Names beneficiaries of gifts and allows for tax planning

 • Appoints trustee to hold gifts in trust

 • Appoints guardians to care for underage children

 2. Power of Attorney for Property or Finances

 • Names someone as a financial attorney

 • Specifies conditions and/or restrictions on your attorney

 • Is effective while you are alive

 • Usually states it is valid if you are incapable (durable)

 3. Power of Attorney for Personal or Medical Care

 • Also called health or medical care attorney proxies

 • Authorizes health and personal-care decision makers

 • May include attachments regarding your medical directives or treatment optionsŸ

 • Valid only if you cannot make your own decisions

Don`t fumble the ball. Get my free super bowl special “Are You Risking Your Family’s Future?” Discover the secret winning moves instantly by reading my free ebook. Please let me know if you find it helpful.

See my related posts and FAQs:

 • Target Your Estate Planning Resolutions

 • Estate Planning Extra to Consider

 • Ontario Estate Planning FAQs

About Edward Olkovich

Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu. Visit his website, mrwills.com, for more free valuable information.

© Edward Olkovich 2013