Lady Justice: Will power

The Pandemic disrupted our habits, including good ones like making it to the gym regularly. Developing good habits takes will power. Our lives tend to be so busy that losing those habits can lead to a seemingly insurmountable challenge to regain them. I gained my share of Pandemic pounds and it is taking a lot of will power to lose them. I am happy to be back with my personal trainer as a good first step, so – never say die.

“Never say die” is a quote first attributed to Charles Dickens, a great critic of the justice system of his time. While never say die is a great attitude, especially when it comes to trying to keep in shape to improve the quality of your life, reduce stress and avoid the inevitable, death IS inevitable. If you want to continue to have a say at that point and avoid a lot of stress for your family (including your beloved pets), then the power of the will comes into play.

By making a will, you have the power to appoint the individual who will look after winding up your affairs and ensure your wishes for your property and final resting place are met and honoured. It is, however, more than just a simple document as there are tax implications, property/family law considerations and the people who survive you to consider.

Most often people think of their will, but a power of attorney and a personal directive might be even more important. These documents are used to appoint someone you trust to manage your property and financial affairs while you are alive if something happens to you making you unable to manage them yourself. A personal directive appoints the person who makes your healthcare decisions and where you express your wishes for care. As we live longer and cannot predict what will happen in our lives these documents are crucial to ensuring your wishes are known and you have people in place to manage your affairs if your mental capacity is impacted (e.g. an accident).

Any significant life changes including births, deaths and major changes in your assets should be an occasion to make sure you update your estate plan.

So much of our lives occurs online now and we even have the ability to own digital currency, so make sure you address your digital assets in your estate plan. Discussing ways to inform your executors and pass on this property as digital property laws develop should be considered.

Online booking with remote initial appointments can facilitate this process for those incapable of visiting a lawyer’s office either due to health reasons or busy schedule. As a legal tech evangelist, I advocate for Alberta using the technology we have for better, secure digital signing and storage and this should be (and likely is) the future. We can’t lose our momentum in making access easier for all.

Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym for the person or persons who invented bitcoin including creating the first blockchain database. They are also the holder of the largest unclaimed bitcoin wallet, estimated at a value that would instantly make Satoshi one of the richest people in the world. Is the key to this fortune lost? Did Satoshi die? A delay in estate planning might be the problem here.

Just as an appointment with your personal trainer can help you keep your life on track, that appointment with your legal advisor can make sure your legal affairs are in order. Busy people, most of whom plan to be around for another day, tend to delay anything that can probably wait. Estate planning won’t save your loved ones the grief they will feel from your illness, decline or passing, but it certainly can support them and save them many headaches. Will power is important for good habits. The power of a will and estate planning is also important… and you don’t even have to work up a sweat.

Donna Purcell, Q.C., (aka Lady Justice) is a Central Alberta lawyer and Chief Innovation Officer with Donna Purcell QC Law. If you have legal questions, contact dpurcell@dpqclaw.com.

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