Glossary - Wills and Powers of Attorney
An affidavit is a written statement that someone signs and swears is true.
An affidavit of execution is made by a witness to a will or Power of Attorney. The witness confirms that the person making the will or Power of Attorney signed it in front of both of the witnesses. The witness must also sign the affidavit.
Assets, sometimes called property, are things that you own. For example, assets include cars, real estate, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and any savings you have.
Beneficiaries are people or organizations that you leave something to in your will.
A capacity assessor is someone who has special training and has been approved by the government to decide if people are mentally incapable. This can be a doctor, nurse, psychologist, occupational therapist, or social worker. They assess a person’s mental capacity and decide if the person is able to make decisions about their property, personal care, or both.
You must pay for the assessment. The fee usually depends on things like the person’s profession and expertise. The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee has a list of capacity assessors in Ontario.
A clearance certificate is a document that an estate trustee gets from Canada Revenue Agency. It confirms that all money the person who died owed to the Canada Revenue Agency has been paid.
A common-law relationship is one where partners of the same or opposite sex live together in a marriage-like relationship, without being married. This is sometimes called “cohabiting”. For most estate law issues, you must live together for at least 3 years, or sometimes less if you’re raising a child together.
Custody is the right of a parent to make important decisions about how to care for and raise a child. It includes the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and religion. Custody is not about which parent the child lives with or how much time a child spends with each parent.
There are different types of custody. Sole custody means only one parent has the right to make these decisions. Joint custody means both parents have the right to make these decisions.
Other people, for example, grandparents, can also apply to the court for custody.
Debts are money that a person owes, for example, a mortgage, line of credit, or car loan.
Decision-making responsibility is the right to make important decisions about how to care for and raise a child. It includes the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, religion, and important extra-curricular activities. Decision-making responsibility used to be called custody.
The parents can agree to or the court can give:
- one parent all decision-making responsibility,
- 2 or more parents decision-making responsibility, or
- different parents separate responsibilities, for example, one parent makes decisions about the child’s health and another parent makes decisions about the child’s religion.
For some types of property, such as a life insurance policy, registered retirement savings plan, or tax-free savings account, you can say who will get it when you die, without writing it in your will. This person is often called a designated beneficiary.
When you die, the money goes directly to them. It does not become part of your estate and your estate does not pay tax on it.