A Last Will and a Living Will are two different estate planning documents: one deals with your affairs after you have passed on, while the other deals with your affairs while you are alive. A Last Will and Testament specifies decisions relating to the end of your life. A Living Will allows someone to make health care decisions on your behalf. If, for instance, you slip into a coma or no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions on your own, your Living Will expresses your wishes in regards to what type of health care you wish to receive. A Living Will, may for instance, contain a “Do Not Resuscitate” order or a refusal for a very specific type of medical procedure.

To create a Living Will, you need to be at least 18 years of age and be of sound mind. You also need to appoint someone to act as your “Attorney” (otherwise known as an “Agent” or “Proxy” in some provinces) to convey your health care wishes to your family and physician who may be looking after you in a hospital. A Living Will can ensure that the choices relating to your health are respected by all parties impacted by your incapacity.

You should consider a Living Will if:

  • You have specific health care wishes that you would like to be carried out on your behalf (i.e. you do not want to be resuscitated if you are in a vegetative state)
  • You are about to be hospitalized or have a major upcoming surgery
  • You are diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • You want to complete your estate plan

What is the difference between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney? 

A Living Will and a Power of Attorney are both legal documents allowing someone you trust the ability to make decisions on your behalf while you are alive but incapacitated. A Living Will is designed to convey your healthcare related decisions. A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to oversee financial matters on your behalf.

Selecting an Attorney for your Living Will 

The “Attorney” must be at least 18 years of age, of sound mind, and be trustworthy enough to act on your behalf. You may want to discuss the responsibilities an Attorney undertakes with the person in question.  Make sure he or she is comfortable enough to fulfill the role. Choose someone you know who has the maturity and abilities to carry on with the duties of being an Attorney.

Updating Your Living Will

Just as you would with a Last Will and Testament, you may also want to update your Living Will periodically. These are the following situations in which it is important to consider updating your Living Will:

  • Major life/family event changes
  • Marriage/divorce
  • Your “Attorney”  is unable/unwilling to take on the responsibility

You can use FormalWill.ca’s online Living Will order form to go through an easy step-by-step process to fill out each question.

Making your wishes as transparent as possible through your Living Will can help you avoid prolonged pain or suffering, should the time come when it is necessary to use it.

FormalWill.ca is a leader in online estate planning. Our system has been developed in close consultation with Canadian lawyers to ensure the utmost accuracy. We have established a user-friendly online service which creates your legal documents instantly and is designed to save you money and time.

Are you ready to start the process of establishing a Living Will instantly? Click here to learn more.

…And How to Prepare a Power of Attorney Online 

Having a Power of Attorney document is essential for a situation in which you may be incapacitated (i.e. after a common car accident) and require someone else to handle your financial (and business) affairs. A Power of Attorney allows someone you trust the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if and when you are unable to do so.

A Power of Attorney is different from a Last Will: a Power of Attorney comes into effect while you are alive. The person making the document is known as the “Donor,” while the person appointed to make the decisions on your behalf  is known as your “Attorney.”

Establishing your Power of Attorney is a critical part of the estate planning process. Without one, your family and loved ones may be required to go through a complicated and costly court process to be permitted to deal with any of your financial affairs.

Before You Start The Process of Establishing Your Power of Attorney

You should have some of your personal information at the ready, including your legal name and current address. You should also know at this point who you would like as your “Attorney” and who you would want as a backup choice.

Who You Want to Appoint as Your Power of Attorney

The person you choose must be prepared to act in your best interest and keep records of all of the duties they have performed on your behalf. Keep in mind that your Attorney can resign by written notification.

When you have decided who you would like to act on your behalf, you will need to identify that person in your Power of Attorney through written recognition.Their name  and relationship to you will be noted in your Power of Attorney.

FormalWill.ca’s proprietary technology produces a Power of Attorney that gives broad powers to cover a range of financial and business matters, manage real estate, maintain insurance and act upon many other financial matters on your behalf.

FormalWill.ca is a leader in online estate planning. Our system has been developed in close consultation with Canadian lawyers to ensure the utmost accuracy. We have established a user-friendly online service which creates your legal documents instantly and is designed to save you money and time.

Are you ready to start your power of attorney document right now? Click here to learn more.

Did you know that the famous rapper Snoop Dogg doesn’t have a Last Will and Testament? He has, in his own colorful language, brushed off the very notion with a terse “I don’t give a f___  when I’m dead.”

Snoop Dogg isn’t the only celebrity without a Last Will and Testament in place. After the death of the late singer Prince in 2016, the world was shocked to learn that he did not have a Last Will and Testament (his beneficiaries are still squabbling over his assets).

The death of a famous celebrity should not be what compels you to finish that all-too important document, but it should serve as a reminder of how important it is to complete your Will. 

Alongside a Will, you should also think about the importance of a Power of Attorney and a Living Will.

You know what a Last Will and Testament is, but what are those other two documents?

My husband is very ill, and I need to manage our household expenses

A Power of Attorney document is integral to estate-planning. It is a document which designates a trustworthy person (e.g. a spouse, parent, child, etc.) legal authority over your finances, household expenses and if necessary, financial business decisions.

In what scenarios would this occur?

The most common scenario that usually comes to mind is using a Power of Attorney to take care of an elderly parent, but there are other scenarios you may not consider:

If you are driving to work one day and wind up in a horrific car accident, you may incur brain damage or slip into a coma. At this point, you obviously cannot communicate your wishes, and while the doctors are looking after you, who is looking after your expenses, your business and your household?  

That is what a Power of Attorney document is for.  You can appoint an individual (your Attorney) to manage your finances in the event you are unable to do so. 

Do you for instance, want to grant someone else the power to open and close bank accounts in your name? Sell, own or buy property in your name? That is what a Power of Attorney allows you to do, and these are just a few of the situations a Power of Attorney covers. It is definitely something you will want to get done.

This document, once properly signed and initialized, comes into effect right away and operates while you are alive. A Last Will and Testament comes into effect after your death.

What is the difference between a Last Will and Testament and a Living Will?

My husband is very ill, and I will be in charge of his health  

In the very same scenario mentioned above (the husband left comatose in a car accident), the difficulty lies not only in managing a spouse’s financial matters, but his ailing health as well.

A Living Will allows you to name an individual to make decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. A Living Will also comes into effect while you are alive and covers a number of situations, including: appointing a decision maker for your health related choices; appointing alternate decision maker(s); donating organs; specifying end of life care, and more.

Do you want a blood transfusion? Do you want your organs donated if you pass away? If so, for what purpose would you want them donated for? Would you want your organs donated for medical purposes or scientific research?  A Living Will allows you to describe all of this in detail.

It is worth discussing all your wishes early on to ensure that you choose someone who will act on your behalf.

A paper trail

Obviously it is important to discuss these issues with family, relatives and other loved ones. A paper trail is just as important; authorities have to know what your thoughts and wishes are in relation to your health, finances, and your estate and assets.  Having written documents in relation to your wishes is always a good idea.

A famous celebrity like Snoop Dogg may not care about his children squabbling over his money, but you may care about your loved ones having to deal with lawyer fees, administration fees, infighting and court hearings.

Not having estate planning documents for the future is a bad idea. Don’t be like Snoop Dogg or Prince. Start your estate planning documents today and be prepared for anything in the future.

Canadian savings plans


Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You are concerned about an elderly relative who may be taken advantage of financially by another relative or close “friend.” The elderly relative has money disappearing and while you strongly presume that the suspect is that close relative or friend, you don’t want to create a rift by pointing fingers? You wonder what to do? Is speaking up and possibly causing a fight between family members the most likely scenario? 

A frantic granddaughter explains in a newspaper column that she feels caught between a rock and a hard place as her grandmother’s financial resources dwindle. The culprits are both a relative and a close friend of the grandmother’s. 

This problem occurs more often common than you would think. How would you handle this situation? This article provides insight into how this delicate situation should be handled. 

Holding Power over your parent's finances?


Power of Attorney is an integral part of estate planning; it is a legal document which allows someone else the ability to act on your behalf to control your finances and assets. If you ever become incapacitated or unable to look after your finances, a Power of Attorney ensures that you won’t have to worry. 

So, what would happen if you were suddenly given control over say, your elderly parents’ finances? What would you do? Would you know what your roles and duties as your parents’ Attorney would be? 

Check out this informative article form MONEYSENSE for answers on overseeing your parents’ finances: Looking after Mom and Dad.

Living Will


Legendary radio host of American Top 40, Casey Kasem, passed away this past Father’s Day at the age of 82. Kasem suffered from both Parkinson’s and dementia and was taken off of life support at the behest of his children, who were following their father’s wishes.

Read More about Casey’s situation here.

You can also read about the tragic death of Martha Stewart’s late sister and her Living Will. If you have never reflected about the importance of having Living Will done, this article can give you pause for thought:  Read More Here.