Frequently Asked Questions

  • I am not wealthy, so why do I need estate planning?


    Your estate includes many things you may not have considered.  Besides real estate and bank accounts, there are vehicles and household items, collectibles, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, life insurance, the value of your business and more.  The benefits and potential tax liabilities of your estate may be more than you expect.  At Assiniboia Law Office, we can assist with your will and otherwise strategize to allow your estate to give the most benefit to your loved ones.

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  • Can I take care of my estate planning myself?


    Attempting to plan your estate yourself deprives you of the benefit of the knowledge and expertise of a Winnipeg estate planning lawyer.  A qualified professional can advise you of options of which you may otherwise never be aware.  Additionally, in such an involved and complex process it is all too easy for errors or omissions to be made.  Such errors can cause tremendous financial losses to your estate, as well as cause your loved ones the additional hardship of delays, increased costs and potential litigation.

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  • Why do I need a trust? Isn’t a will enough?


    A will is only one part of estate planning.  It does not provide for the treatment of certain assets nor allow for the strategic handling of your assets and property before your death.  A trust can assist you to avoid probate fees and protect your assets from creditors and capital gains tax.  It can also protect assets from spendthrift heirs while still providing for them, and can allow your loved ones to benefit immediately from trust proceeds.  A trust may also help preserve your right to social assistance payments.

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  • Can I update my will after it has been finalized?


    Absolutely.  Estate planning should be revised and your will updated whenever significant changes occur in your family, such as a birth, death, marriage or divorce.  The same should be done if you move to another province where different laws may apply.  Your estate plan should be reviewed regularly as changes to estate and tax laws may also have an effect.

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  • What is a will?


    A will is a legal document that names an executor or administrator of your estate and explains your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and assets after your death.  It is also used to name a guardian for any minor children.

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  • What will happen to my property if I don’t have a will?


    If there is no will at the time of your death, your assets and property will be distributed according to intestacy laws.  These are extremely inflexible statues that can prevent your property from being given to the people you intend it to go to.

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  • What are the requirements for a will?


    The basic requirements for a will are that you are of sound mind and legal age, it is your will, the will is in writing, it is signed and dated by you, and signed by two witnesses.

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  • When should a will be changed?


    Your will should be reviewed and modified as needed following a marriage, divorce, death of spouse, the death of a child, grandchild or sibling; the birth of a child, your executor dies, or any other major changes in your personal or financial situation.

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  • Why should I hire an attorney to prepare my will?


    A qualified lawyer will have considerable experience preparing wills and can competently guide you through the process to ensure you property and assets are distributed the way you want following your death.  A Winnipeg estate planning attorney from Assiniboia Law Office can answer your questions regarding wills in more detail, and give you reliable advice regarding asset and property distribution.  Our firm can also help you amend wills that have been previously written.

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  • What is a trust?


    A trust is a legal method of controlling a person’s property while they are alive and/or after their death.  There are different types of trusts depending on the situation, including a family trust and a special needs trust.

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  • How many people are involved in a trust?


    Every trust has a settlor, a trustee, and one or more beneficiaries.   The settlor is responsible for settling the trust property, the trustee administers the trust, and a beneficiary is the recipient of the trust’s property.

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  • Who can be a trustee?


    A trustee can be a trust company, an individual, or both.  A trustee is required to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

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  • What are the benefits of a trust?


    The primary benefit of a trust is that it allows property and assets to be transferred directly to beneficiaries without having to go through probate court.  If the trust is established while the person is still living, the assets can be distributed during their lifetime.  A trust is also a way to minimize or prevent estate taxation and/or reduce personal income tax obligations.

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  • How can a lawyer help me with a trust?


    An attorney can provide qualified advice regarding trusts and ensure our trust meets the necessary legal requirements.   Consult a Winnipeg estate planning attorney from Assiniboia Law Office if you are interested in establishing a trust.  We can provide the information you will need to make an informed decision about a trust, and can guide you in other estate planning matters to make sure your assets and property are distributed the way you want following your death.

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  • What is a Power of Attorney?


    A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person (the donor) to authorize another person (the attorney) to make financial decisions on their behalf.

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  • What is the difference between a power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney?


    A power of attorney stays in effect until a person’s death or they become mentally incapacitated.  An enduring power of attorney will remain in effect even when a person becomes mentally incapable.

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  • Who can be named an attorney?


    A person can be named an attorney if they are an adult, mentally capable and not an undischarged bankrupt.

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  • Who can witness an enduring power of attorney?


    An enduring power of attorney can be witnessed by a Manitoba judge, police officer, notary public, attorney, magistrate, justice of the peace, a person authorized to perform marriages, and a member of the RCMP.

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  • What are the requirements for an enduring power of attorney?


    An enduring power of attorney must be written, signed by the donor, signed by a witness and contain language stating that the power of attorney will continue despite mental incapacitation.

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  • Why should I hire an attorney to prepare a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney?


    A competent lawyer can provide skilled legal advice regarding powers of attorney, and ensure the documentation is properly prepared and your interests will be protected.  Consult a Winnipeg estate planning lawyer from Assiniboia Law Office to find out more about powers of attorney and their use in estate planning.  We have extensive experience in the preparation of estate documents and can answer all of your questions about powers of attorney.

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  • Why should I hire an attorney to prepare a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney?


    A competent lawyer can provide skilled legal advice regarding powers of attorney, and ensure the documentation is properly prepared and your interests will be protected.  Consult a Winnipeg estate planning lawyer from Assiniboia Law Office to find out more about powers of attorney and their use in estate planning.  We have extensive experience in the preparation of estate documents and can answer all of your questions about powers of attorney.

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  • Do I need to have my spouse’s consent to obtain a divorce?


    No.  You may seek a divorce on your own if there has been adultery, mental or physical cruelty or you have lived apart for at least a year.

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  • What are the options for child custody?


    You may seek sole custody of the children, joint custody, shared custody or split custody.

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  • If I allow my spouse to have custody, what may I do to prevent the spouse from taking the children out of the province?


    You may seek an order in the legal separation or divorce order to limit the spouse’s mobility rights to the area where you live.

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  • If there is a limitation of my mobility rights in my divorce order, what may I do if I have obtained a good job in another province?


    You may seek a variation of court orders to allow you to move.

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  • On what is child support determined?


    It is based on provincial child support guidelines and Canada’s federal child support guidelines.

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  • What may I do if the level of my child support is inadequate based on a new medical condition my child has?


    Where there is a change such as this, you may seek a variation of court orders.

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  • I worked to put my spouse through medical school and now the spouse is leaving. What can I do?


    In your divorce you may seek spousal support for the wherewithal to go to college yourself.  It is only fair.

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