While it may not be something we want to think about, estate planning is important not only for managing our future, but protecting ourselves in the present too. Our talk with Beverly Carter shows us just how important powers of attorney and will planning is, and how much we can do to help our kids and ourselves in the future.

In this episode, we go over how to set up these documents and power of attorney, all the different kinds of policies that exist, finding the right professional for you, and so much more! Beverly knows so much about this topic and makes it really approachable (which I found super helpful). As you all know, I’m all about making these topics accessible for everyone, and financial literacy is something that we should all know.

Make sure to give the episode a listen or a read, you’re going to learn a ton from Beverly! Interested in talking more about this episode? Head on over to the UM Club Facebook group to chat with us and dig into this topic a little further!

Want to listen to this episode and receive more exclusive content? Sign up for the UM Club! We offer exclusive interviews with vetted credible experts, and cover the topics you actually care about – everything from finances to women’s health to intimacy and more! Can’t wait to see you there!


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Guest Expert – Beverly Carter

Beverly Carter is a Notary Public and Founder of Carter Notary. Born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, she is married to Bruce Carter and they have four children aged 22 to 29. She has a strong passion for building healthier communities and strives to make the legal process for each and every person who walks through the door as easy as possible. When not in the office, Beverly can be found tending to her garden, walking, and spending time with her family and her two poodles, Sumo and Abby.

In This Episode We Talk About

00:02 – Who is Beverly Carter?
05:05 – What is estate planning?
9:04 – Other documents and processes we should be thinking about,
12:25 – Deciding your will and more about the process.
22:53 – Different types of insurance policies.
25:51 – Finding the right professionals for you.
30:26 – What is a power of attorney? An executor?
34:58 – Leaving guardians for our children and keeping a plan.
39:37 – How do we create a power of attorney?
47:43 – Where to find Beverly and The Estate Workbook.
Use code UMCLUB for 20% off The Estate Workbook!

Watch the Video

Listen to the Audio

Resource Links

UM Club Facebook page
Join the UM Club!
The Estate Workbook: A Life Organizing Guide use code UMCLUB for 20% off
Beverly’s website Carter Notary
Will questionnaire
Will webinar
Powers of attorney webinar
Bethany’s Youtube channel
(YouTube) The Death Series: The importance of having and updating your will
(YouTube) Zoom & Learn Webinar: DIY Wills, Legal Wills & Remote Signing
(YouTube) Zoom & Learn Personal Planning Webinar: Wills

Read the Full Conversation

Hello and welcome to another episode inside the Unapologetic Moms Club. I’m your host Jannine and today I am here with Beverly Carter, to talk all about life organization and estate planning. Welcome, Beverly!

Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here, and I’m very passionate about these topics for lots of good reasons. So I’m Beverly Carter, I am a legal professional. And I live in Victoria, British Columbia. As a notary public here, I practice in specific areas of law, specifically wills and estate planning, and real estate. And then I do notarizations, which are a whole bunch of other things for people’s business needs across the world. So I have a very unique insight into what goes on in a lot of people’s lives. But I also have three PhDs of my own life that I bring to the table with every client that I see. And so that helps me in my day to day to understand where people are coming from, because a lot of what I see are people going through challenging times. And also good times, too. But I see the spectrum of life ages and stages. And I’ve lived through it in my own family, and know firsthand how life can throw you curveballs. So I know how important it is to be organized in life, and just be ready for unexpected events. 

Yes, that’s the thing I think we’re kind of learning as a culture right now. Especially with all the natural disasters, flooding, lots here in BC, is life throws us a lot of curveballs. And we can really help ourselves by being prepared. 

Yeah. And I’m going to say probably, for me, some of my biggest life experiences, I’ve gone through some very – you know, I know death is not something a lot of people want to talk about, and of course, I do on a daily basis, but it’s really not that, often it’s just life events. You know, like dropping your phone in the toilet, then what, right?Not that it’s ever happened to me… Actually, yeah, I have dropped my phone into water twice. I was talking to an owner of a well known pub in our community and he said, actually, that’s one of the most common things that happen, is for the females, they go to the washroom and their phone goes in the toilet, and it’s panic code, right? I think a lot of us can relate to that, or when our systems are down.

But you know, there’s not only that, but I’ve been where – a lot of your people here that are dialing in and tuning in are totally moms, right? Or they are on the way to being a mom, or they have their mom, so we’re all at different stages, we have our own kids, we may be managing our own parents as they age. And so I’ve been through all of that. And I have the added challenge of where I became a single parent because of death, right? My first spouse died, and as a result I was on my own and having to manage. And it’s hard enough when there’s more than one parent around. And it’s definitely an added burden when there’s just you. And so when we’re talking about, you know, I know, we want to talk about wills at some point, but I know firsthand why that’s really important to people, to have these things in place. But I’m clearly still here. 

Life carries on.

And it just carries on, life does carry on. And I’ve remarried, and very happily, but even the different complexities of life, that blended family scenario. You become a mom and a stepmom to others. And so having to keep oneself organized becomes super, super important. And then joining houses, moving, husband’s information, my information, my business information. And so all of these forces, combined with having to manage my mum through more than 10 years of Alzheimer’s, to a very catastrophic fall of my dad down the stairs. Having information, thinking about what you own and what you owe, becomes really important if you need to step back into your own life because, you know, either your phone goes down the toilet, or you need to step into somebody else’s life or they need to step into yours. So there’s so many different angles of why you need to just be organized. 

Absolutely. And I think it’s something a lot of us kind of put on the back burner when life is good, right? Like we have things going on, life’s good. It’s something we know we need to do, but don’t necessarily act on it. And it’s when we have these big life events, perhaps someone we know is, it’s kind of a bit of a wake up call that “no, this is really important. We do need to get on top of this.” So as a baseline, could you give us a description of what estate planning and life organization is, for context? 

So I think it’s really important to understand what is estate? Let’s talk about that, because a lot of people think in terms of estate as being for when you’re old, or when you’re dead. And that’s actually not true. Estate is just – I took this off of Wikipedia, but I found it really relevant. And it says “an estate in common-law is the net worth of a person at any point in time, alive or dead. It is the sum of a person’s assets, legal rights, interests and entitlements to property of any kind, less all liabilities at that time.” So it’s basically “what do you own and what do you owe? So if I own a house that’s worth $500,000, and I owe a $300,000 mortgage, my estate is $200,000. That’s very simplistic. 

But life has become so much more complicated than just a house or a car or a bank account. Think about all the digital, you know? You are a good example, you have a whole website, I have that, there’s a lot of listeners that are self-employed, or entrepreneurs as well, or legal people, and even the pictures you take, we all have those, those are things that you own. They may not have a commercial value, but they’re stuff that you own. And so when we talk about estate, you can be a 30 year old and do estate planning, and some people might say it’s financial planning, or wealth planning. Perhaps you receive an inheritance and so now you’ve got something, or you buy your first house. 

Estate is not just for the dead, or the old, it really matters now. And that requires a lot of information in our world. You know, really it’s about keeping it organized, and some of us will have more complex estates because we have more. So if you own a business, all of a sudden, you probably have more complexity, right? If you have a child who has some form of a disability, that may add complexity, or if you have a blended family, there’s different complexities to how the people and our families, and how we own things, and how we organize it. So keeping it all straight is really essential to understanding how to organize what we own, and what we owe, and manage it for our best. And to be able to step into life, when we need to, for whatever reason. 

So when you talk about estate planning, and again, that can be financial planning, wealth planning. It doesn’t have to be super complicated, it can be going to your bank and setting up your retirement savings plans. Something simple like that is a form of estate planning. So you could be 25 and set up your retirement savings plan, you could be working for a government, or some sort of an institution and have a pension. That’s a form of estate planning.

It’s really thinking about that long term protection coverage in different ways. You had mentioned dropping the cell phone in the toilet and losing that data. That’s something kind of out of the box that I hadn’t previously thought of with estate planning. But when you brought that up, like passwords, I imagine, are a really big one. I have a client of mine, her husband, unfortunately, very surprisingly passed away a few years ago and they’re both self-employed. And it was a lot just to figure out the passwords and how to do things within each other’s businesses when the other one was so involved. What are some of the other kind of out of the box, not as much thought of components to things that are quite important that we should be thinking about? 

So I presented on this topic just prior to our whole pandemic happening, and as I was preparing for that, that really leads to me to where I’m at today. And I’ve developed a book, I’ve published a book recently, and I say that the documents that you have that support what you’re doing include things like a will, a power of attorney, your health representative being appointed. It can include things like life insurance policies, and all these other financial products that help you. And so I produced this book, it’s The Estate Workbook: A Life Organizing Guide, because I realize there’s so many different facets. 

I mean, I was a mom and I was having to remember login passwords for my kids in high school, and elementary school. And I’m like, “ah!” And I found that there are places, there are online apps – I’ve got some great apps on my phone – but not any one thing made that helped me for everything. I didn’t have one entire go to place for it all. And so I have things like Keeper and LastPass here, which are great for immediate things, but it was really hard to keep account numbers and all that stuff attached to it all. So I developed this book as a tool, as a guide, where you need to step into your own life. And this is definitely – I know it says estate workbook, but again, estate is for now, not for when you’re much older. And I gave this to my 26 year old step daughter, and she says, “I love this, I would use this,” right? 

And it was quite surprising to me because I thought “she’s of that age where I didn’t think that this would matter in that way.” But by talking to different people, it actually helps me to gain some insight into how they’re thinking about their world. And she absolutely recognized how valuable having information was, because she doesn’t have one go-to place. But she has the same sorts of applications to use. And I thought “oh, okay. So my kids like this.” 

Yeah, we’re on to something! 


And I find with the whole estate planning as a process, it seems like this massive task, like “where do I start? Where do I begin?” So it’s really neat to see that you had launched this estate planning workbook. So what is kind of a basic rundown of the process you take people through when they’re starting to embark on estate planning? I’m all about breaking things into baby steps so it’s more approachable. 

So my personal process I developed, and this is part of the background for this book as well, I have a will questionnaire, which I have consistently received the feedback of “oh good, thankfully, I’ve got something to help me get started.” And it’s not too onerous. A lot of it is top of mind information that people need to have. But some of it requires a bit of thinking. And I’ve observed so many different people take this in different ways. But fundamentally, it’s all the information I need to know to make sure that I can advise them legally of the details of their life. As I say, most people’s wills may be straightforward, but their lives aren’t always. And particularly in British Columbia, we have some unique features in our law that are really important for people to understand. And that may vary from province to province, or state to state, so it’s really important to understand what the laws are, where you live, and where you’re making your will. Because you can inadvertently create something that somebody is not going to like, and they’re going to make it contentious for your family or your loved ones after you’re gone. And so my job is to make sure that they understand that, and by understanding that, we work through the guide. 

And so there’s simple basics. We start with names. Do you know how many people do not really understand what their name is? 

No, I’m surprised.

Right? You know, I once wrote an article called “Bob Marley is not my name.” I thought that was a catchy title because everybody goes, “oh, Bob Marley, right. Good, great reggae guy.” But that’s not his real name, that’s his everyday name. And there’s a lot of people in that boat daily. I’d say more than 50% of the people do not use their legal name on a daily basis. So when I’m preparing everything, I need to know what your name is. I need to know if you’re – let’s say a name like Michael Smith, do you know how many 1000s and 1000s of people have a name like that? 


Well, but is Michael your middle name? Are you David Michael Smith, but your dad was David, so you go by Michael and your dad goes by David? And so it matters to understand things as basic as that. So we can also do in the wills, things like also known as. But when we’re talking about a document, like a power of attorney, if your name is showing as Michael Smith, and not David Michael Smith, as an example, that’s going to cause problems. Or what’s another one, Lindsey or Sidney, there’s different names. Christine can be spelled so many different ways. Anne, there’s just a few off the top of my head, Lisa. And so the day-to-day name isn’t necessarily what’s on your bank account, or what you submit your income taxes to the government under. And so that’s a super basic thing that we talked through. 

And then once we get that, you know, knowing where you’re from, where you’re born, where you’re going to keep your will, things like that. We talk through who’s in your family, that becomes a really important component, because it will flag me as to who is your natural circle of support, unless you have estrangements, or dysfunction, or dynamics. And so it helps me to know in preparing the documents to who you’re not going to choose and why. Or are you going to disinherit somebody? Why are you not going to give them something in your will, right? 

Do we need explanations for that to help solidify their decision? So they’re not questioned as much after the fact?

Yes, in some cases, certainly here in BC, I spend a lot of time taking notes. And in some cases where there’s – you may have a mum who has two sons, who is giving everything to one but not to the other. And in some cases, it might be that the one, she gave $200,000 as a gift already to help him buy a house, but she didn’t do that to the other one. So you don’t always know that it’s for family reasons. But that person can challenge that will, even if he’s already got his inheritance in advance, right? So there’s different scenarios. Or you have some people who have kids who, unfortunately, have gone down the wrong path. So you’ve got all of these things. Always document it and be factual about that. 

So I spend a fair bit of time understanding the family dynamics, and why you – particularly an immediate family member. In some cases, some spouses don’t give to their spouse. They don’t think their spouse can manage it. Well, I don’t know. I think you’re setting up for quite an issue, right? So there’s just – I’m constantly amazed at the nuances of reasons why people do things. So understanding the family. 

A really important part of understanding what happens in your will is understanding how you own your assets. And so it’s not just the finances, it can be, like I mentioned, your digital assets. Some people have written books that they sell purely online, they don’t actually have a hard physical copy of that. Or you have the intellectual rights of all the work that you’re doing on your own website, for example, and that unique content that you’ve created. Well, how does that get transferred? Or do you even know that that’s something that will pass through your will? And do you want it to go to a specific person, or not? 

So finances, you know, most people have the basics of cars and bank accounts. And then we look at bigger assets, like houses. And then it’s really important to understand how people own the different financial asset or financial bank account, because you can have joint ownership. And joint ownership is usually the right of survivor. So if you have mom and dad own a bank account together as joint owners, and mom dies, then that bank account stays in the name of dad. But a very common, almost an urban myth of “it’s a good idea to add my kids.” So mom and dad, mom dies, and dad thinks it’s a great idea to add one of his four kids, as an owner of that bank account that has $400,000 in it. But it’s not really for that kid. So these things complicate, like adding them on as an owner of the house. The intention is that the kids are supposed to sell the house and divide it equally among the four kids. But what if they don’t? 

So people construct all of these very unique financial arrangements in the family that make it complex. And if I don’t understand that complexity, my clients won’t understand the risks that their estate may have after they die. So there’s a lot you can do, if you know about it, or straighten it out, or just don’t do it while you’re alive. And so I find it really important part of understanding your estate is understanding how you own it. So you have joint ownership, and then you’ve got your products where you’ve got a direct beneficiary, so most people get this. A pension, you know, most couples, they name their spouse, and then their kids are the alternates. Life insurance policies, where they got a million dollar insurance policy, and it’s going to my three kids equally, however you do it. What I find very common among couples with young families is a very strong component of these financial products. So whether it’s a life insurance policy, paying out a mortgage on a house, or just a life insurance policy in and of itself, becomes really important.

And then you’ll have life insurance policies that may pay out through work. And, you know, these are the areas that, when I talk about having information, a lot of people don’t think about products like that. So if all of a sudden you’re unable to manage paying your bills, because, I don’t know, you’re in a car accident, you have a head injury, and you forget to put enough money in your account to pay out your million dollar life insurance policy, which you’re paying at $150 a month. And if it doesn’t get paid, it automatically gets dropped. 

So the whole value of having information is that if somebody needed to step into your life, what do they have to manage to protect your assets? So it’s not only while at death, but it’s also during your life. We can all have sudden events, we don’t have to be 80 years old to have a health incident. It doesn’t mean it’s a catastrophic or life ending, but it can set you on your backside for a while. 


Hip replacements, you know. I mean, one of my dearest friends was 35 having a hip replacement, and then a second one, and couldn’t manage getting out. 

Yeah, things happen. I know lots of people within the community too, their partners are working in trades. That’s our thing here. My husband is the primary breadwinner for the family. And a lot of his income depends on his physical ability to complete the job. And if something were to happen, we would be in a sticky situation. And so that’s where we need to start looking at the different insurance options. So I know that’s not the main focus for this. But what are some different insurance things we should be thinking of. You touched on life insurance, just covering the mortgage, or an actual money payout. There’s disability insurance, in case of accidents. So what are some different things we should be keeping in mind when making those decisions?

Well, I see a lot of people doing exactly those, you know, because you just need to be taken out for a little while for them to have some value. So I’m not a financial advisor. Just a caveat here. But I need to know all about this in order to advise correctly. So I definitely say it’s worth finding a financial advisor. I know you can – and there are definitely different layers of financial advisors. You’ve got some who sort of have gone through school, but may not have a lot of life experience, and so on the lower levels they are good at smaller routine type investments, mutual funds, those sorts of things, and will sell you life insurance policies and those sorts of things. You know, the higher levels would be people working in wealth management, they usually have more training. The terms have changed so much over the last decade. A referral is important, but I always take that with a grain of salt, because some people are referring and they don’t really know foundationally what they’re referring to, they don’t really understand. 

So I know if I’m referring somebody who’s got more than a million dollar estate, I’m not going to refer to them to the basic bank person, there are definitely different people who specialize in those areas. And they specialize because they worked to be able to specialize, and they have the accreditation to deal with that wealth level. So it’s really important you understand what their background is, how long they’ve been in business, have they moved around to different companies? Those are the types of questions that I would ask. And interview people, you know, if you’re going out and looking for different financial products, definitely check around. 

And that kind of ties in, I was going to ask later, how do we find these right professionals? So you touched on a lot of that, and researching their education, how much they hopped around. As many of the people tuning in are young families, generally, we’re very cost aware. And it could seem like a lot to think of having a financial planner, a lawyer, a notary, all of those things. Where would you say is a good place to start or focus on for the building blocks, since we might not be doing all of those things right away. So who should we seek help from first?

Well, it depends what you have and what you’re doing. It really does. I think, really, understanding your own finances as a start is super important. Just actually identifying your finances in one place, and really understanding what do you own? What are your expenses? I do a lot of real estate, and so I’m dealing with mortgages, and I don’t get into that, that would be the person at the bank who specializes in mortgages, or a mortgage broker, but they’re going to be asking for detailed information about how much money you make, and what are your different debt obligations? And so it can be quite a lot of work. It depends, what are your objectives? Do you want to own a house? Well, then you kind of have to save, you know? You have to know your money, and you have to be able to manage your money well, in order to manage a mortgage. And that’s what a lot of mortgage brokers will do, or mortgage people, is that they’re asking you for the information. They’re not telling you what to do, but they’re asking for that information. 

And I think that a lot of us haven’t sat around dinner tables with families who talked about things like mortgages or aspects of financial literacy.


We did with our kids, and we felt that financial literacy was really important. But I didn’t grow up in a family that talked about that, in fact, it was very traditional. My dad was a wonderful man, both my parents were wonderful people, but very traditional, back in the day where he made the money, mother stayed at home, he managed it, and he was very private about anything financial. And so I learned a lot actually from my first husband, who was very much more worldly, owned a business, came from a different kind of family where they were raised to understand business and understand that part of it. So I continue to learn, and I think seeking out online – probably in the jurisdiction where you live, there are a lot of financial people who may do some educational seminars. I know quite a few around town that will do things around estate planning, just basic financial literacy. I would attend those sorts of things, which would now be available online. I would attend those sorts of things. Get yourself educated, because it’s like, “ah, RSP, TFSA.” 

Yeah, all these letters. 

What do all of these things mean? And so, I find in my case, when I’m doing my interview with my clients and I’m reviewing their finances, they’ve actually never heard finances discussed in such an educational way. So, do you know what you own, and how do you own it, becomes a really important part of understanding your estate. And then having the information; a lot of people will take the opportunity to really organize their understanding of themselves and their financial holdings, because ultimately, your estate really is about what you own. And you may not own a lot today, but you might in the future. Or you might own a lot and you may have a lot less, you know, there may be health reasons that you have less or just bad luck, right? Or you just spend it. And so that’s, again, one of the reasons why I created this, the life organizing guide, is really to help people know the information that at some point, they have to know. 

Mm hmm. It seems to come down to self awareness, looking at what your current situation is, where you want to learn, and what your goals are, and doing those building blocks from there. Because you don’t need to start out with insurance, if you don’t have much that you need to insure. So looking at building those assets, managing those liabilities, providing that coverage. And then another step I wanted to get into is really defining what an executor is, a power of attorney. And it’s my understanding that there’s different kinds of power of attorney for both financial and medical. So I’d love to get a little bit more into that.

Yeah, that’s super important, right. So the will is a document that takes place from the moment of death. But then you’ve got other documents that you have for while you’re alive. And so you have a power of attorney, and a lot of people really misunderstand what that means. They think, “oh, I’m not an attorney.” Well, attorney, a lot of people misunderstand because in the United States, attorney means lawyer, we in Canada tend to use lawyer more. But power of attorney really is giving the power and the authority legally to somebody else to act on your behalf, for financial and legal affairs. In British Columbia, we also have a health document, and we call that a health representation agreement. But a lot of other jurisdictions call it a power of attorney of the person, or they’ll have things like a medical proxy, right. So who’s my medical proxy, who’s the decision maker if I can’t make my own decisions. 

And so a lot of people also don’t understand that these documents always end at your death, because there’s no medical decisions that need to be made after that. And the financial or legal decisions then become the role of the person who’s the executor of your estate. So it’s really important, and I’ve actually seen some really sad scenarios, actually all the time. But particularly, where a person doesn’t have a will. And in that case, they don’t have a person who’s legally in charge. And the executer, the very first job that they do is deal with your body. And so there’s a few times, certainly in the last year, where I was helping work with some funeral homes to try and search and look for wills, because we have a registry where we register the fact that wills are done. But they wouldn’t release the bodies. And so in some cases, the bodies were not able to be released to the family. For one case, it was about 23 days.

That’s a long time. 

Well, and I’m trying to deal with a very grief stricken person, and that just piled on that whole effect of grief, right? It’s just so sad. I find I’m often in a bit of a counseling role. You really feel for these people, right? So I think a lot of people say, “oh, I don’t need one, I don’t have anything,” you have a body, and you probably have a bank account. And that’s enough. And you need somebody to be in charge of at least the very basics, and then whatever else you have. And when I’m talking to families with children, you know, the common thing that they want to know about is the guardian, who’s going to be the guardian of my children. 

Now, most times it’s the surviving parent, because it’s not common that both of them are going to get hit by the meteor, right? But last year, I did have a scenario where the dad had died five years earlier, and mum died, and you had an 11 and 12 year old who were orphaned. It is rare, but it can happen. I was the surviving parent in my scenario, and I always have an extra part for those people who are planning this, because I understand the fears that you have about who will look after my child. And so it’s important to understand who you can choose, why you choose certain people, what their role is, and so we will talk about that. And that’s probably the biggest reason why most couples with young children will have a will. 

That’s the big push for us as well, we have to get on top of this because we need it in writing and need to figure all of that out. I’m assuming we’re primarily choosing the people that are willing to be the guardians. But we can’t really put on a bunch of rules, like we can share our wishes with the family and that’s very important, they see all members of the family. But we really have to have a lot of trust with that person. Because once we are gone, we can’t really be dictating rules to make sure those things actually happen. Is there something where if some extended family members aren’t seeing the kids but want to, do they have any rights to be able to try and get those family visits? 

Well, it’s interesting. I had a lovely young couple yesterday with a newborn and a toddler. And one of the pieces of advice that I can give to them, is if it matters to you, as to how your children are raised, obviously, you’re choosing a person that you trust. And they are very clear that the person was just top quality and was the right person for their child. But I said, create a guide, in the same way when couples are divorcing, they have this co-parenting arrangement of how are they going to be guided? What are the medical needs? What’s the schooling requirements? What are our religious beliefs? How do we want them to be raised? I said “do exactly the same thing, use that as a template, and create that for your own children.” 

And the people who are left behind entirely appreciate information given to them. If there’s one thing I’ve heard, it’s leave them with some guiding information. And the more the better, and honestly, most people, young couples, making a will is not inviting that to happen. It’s just about in case, but it’s practical. I said, “really, just do it. Don’t think about it anymore. And let it collect dust.” 

Just get it done, have the conversations, gather the documents, and then let it sit. And then it’s not sitting in your mind anymore. 

Yeah, yeah. But I mean, I’ve had people with some sad situations who are younger, who do have a young family and have terminal illnesses. Nobody expects it, but I just say be prepared. When we’re talking a lot about the will, I think the power of attorney is a super important document. That allows, when it’s for legal and financial, that allows for somebody to be able to step into your life when something happens. And I often will give the example where when my oldest son was 19, he was mined off of YouTube for a reality TV show, and he was going to be gone for some time. 


Yeah, very cool, it was for music. And I thought, “I probably will need to do his income tax, if nothing else.” Just in case, we should get him an enduring power of attorney. And so we did. And I never imagined I would need to use it. However, a week after he left, I did. He basically was pickpocketed. And with ease, I went to the bank, I was able to check out his banking information, make sure there didn’t seem to be any fraudulent activities. I canceled his credit card, his interact card, and I got new ones reissued. I got a new driver’s license reissued. And the saving grace was that his passport was not on him. But it made me realize – even myself, I’m constantly learning – this is not an old person’s document. And so that’s 10 years ago. 

When I was managing my mum through Alzheimer’s, I never knew when I was going to get that call. And of course, I had kids in school. So I’m trying to manage their lives, I have a business that I’m running, and I’m trying to manage my mum’s life. And so I have more than one power of attorney, because I never knew when I was going to get the big call to go away. And  finally on the third call, that was her time, and I was able to be with her. But I had some peace of mind in knowing that if something popped up while I was gone, somebody was able to deal with it. 

How do we do the power of attorney process? Is that a document that that person has access to that brings to these different institutions? Or do you have to go to the banks and add that information to your accounts? How does that work? 

It’s a good question. So I do enduring powers of attorney, and enduring means that endures through loss of your legal capacity, which is kind of like mental capacity. But what makes it legal are all the ticks in the boxes. You know how I said it’s important to know what you own? That’s a tick in the box. And do you know what you owe is another tick in the box, supporting your capacity. And so the power of attorney, you’re having a person come in, and basically, mostly, managing these financial assets and whatnot. And so having somebody be able to step in if “oh, gosh, I didn’t renew my car license, or my insurance on my vehicle, because I was so distracted with this other life event,” that I just had it in place, knowing that they would have it, they could walk in, and they could do that on my behalf. Because I didn’t want to leave my mom’s side. So whether it was my husband, or in some cases for my business, I also have other powers of attorney if it was something related to business. 

That makes sense, that you might have to have multiples. And so it is just a document then, that you would go to a notary or lawyer to have done, and I’m assuming you would keep a copy and the power of attorney would keep a copy.

Right. So the notary in British Columbia only, notaries in other jurisdictions don’t do what I do. Maybe Quebec. But generally you would, if it’s anywhere else, you would go see a lawyer and have them draw up those documents. 


And you wouldn’t do them any other way, because they do them right. And they also understand – they’re also looking to make sure that people aren’t influenced unduly, right. So they can choose people that they trust, as opposed to somebody who’s telling them what to do, coercing them into doing it. If a person was planning to leave their spouse, you probably wouldn’t create a power of attorney naming that spouse. But they don’t need to know about it, you would probably name another trusted family member, right? And so there are different reasons you would get a power of attorney in place. Because they can protect you when things go sideways. 

And like you said earlier, we’ve had these amazing floods, causing widespread devastation to so many people. The pandemic in itself has made us understand how vulnerable we all are to other events. And that doesn’t mean we’re having a catastrophic health crisis ourselves. You know, we had people who were stranded in New Zealand, who couldn’t sign documents, but a power of attorney here, as they were selling a house, allowed them to get help, thankfully. So it’s – ideally, again, they collect dust, but if you need them, you really need them. And it’s not necessarily an old person’s document. Like I’ve had them since my 20s. And mine have had to have been used through, you know, I’ve had different health events myself. Again, I’m fine, but kind of on my backside for a few months, in one case, until I kind of recovered. And then, you know, think about all your different stages of life. Our lives are complex, because there’s not just us, there’s other people that rely on us, our children, our spouses, our other family, like our parents, or maybe other trusted family members or friends even. We have work, we have these legal and financial ties with all of these things. 

And so we have different stages of relationships, you know, the beginning, the middle, the end, and the end can be because of things like an estrangement, relationship breakdown, it can be divorce, it can be death, or incapacity, it changes our relationships. So, being prepared, or having our loved ones prepared, are super important. And so when I was originally doing the estate workbook, I was thinking about all the information I needed to know about my mom, you know? And there’s a place in there – I’ve got here all about me, right? I’ve got a section for all about me, this is just basic information you’d need to know: date of birth, social insurance or social security number, your driver’s license, key information, passport, contact phones, doctors. 

It’s important for a power of attorney to have access to the right information. 

But do we know that about our spouse? So there’s the next section, which is all about my spouse. Do we know that at a glance? Probably not. You know, when we’re booking travel, and we need to provide our passport numbers for me and my spouse, and I’m like, “ah!”

Yeah, confirming the birth date. This is the right date, right? 

Oh, yeah. What is their legal name? Oh, is it Alan with A L L A N? Is it A L A N? Is it A L L E N? I don’t know. 

So then there’s sections about my family. My children, their social insurance/social security numbers, things that I’ve had to come up with over the years. If you’re in the US, the government health numbers, right? How many times we had to bring that up? “Oh, I forgot the card. Oh, but I have the number.” 

Yeah, exactly. 

All about my parents. When my mom died, I had to provide information about her parents, their date of birth, their names, their locations of birth. So these things are thinking about the future, about information that will go into the vital statistics agency that all of our governments have, right? But the financials, I’ve got a section in here – your estate is what you have today, and you want it protected. So what about practical home information? Things like where’s your water shut off? Gee, that would be helpful to know when you’re having a flood? And what it does is it protects your asset from being too flooded, if you know where to turn it off. So it’s not only about your bank account, Life organizing relates to everything you own, and protecting what you own, and making sure you don’t incur greater debt. 

I know we’ve got some real issues around insurance companies paying out claims, if you didn’t check on your house because you’re away. You have to check on it, in some cases daily, in some cases every three days, right? And if you didn’t do that, too bad, all of those hardwood floors are at your expense to replace, not anyone else’s So the guide is stepping into your own life when something happens, you know, who are your important contact people? What assets do you have, what assets need to be protected, like that life insurance policy that may be super important to a young family? 

Where can the community access your guide? Because it is such a great way of breaking down all of those little things that most people don’t even know to think about. 

I’m so glad you asked. So it’s either available through estateworkbook.ca. Or through carternotary.com, which is my legal business. So you can access it through there. But I’ve had people coming back after they’ve got it and going, “oh, this is so thorough.” And I’ve created it so whether or not you’re in an apartment in New York City, or on a country acreage, it works for all levels. And the information is what you need to be able to create your will, when you need to understand your estate, or doing a power of attorney when you’re appointing another person to manage your financial or legal. This is the information that they would need, it would certainly be helpful. I hear every week of people who have very difficult experiences when somebody’s died, either without a will or even if they have a will, they have no idea where to start. 


One of my brothers died through difficult circumstance a few years ago, and my niece, she’s 31, she’s been now three years working on trying to figure out where everything is, because he’s not a guy who would do a will, to start with, but he was very private about what he had. And we know that there’s more out there, we just have no idea where. 

Yeah, and it just drags on and puts so much stress onto your kids and family, and it can be solved by taking some time to work through things like the workbook. And I love that it’s very affordable too, that was really nice to see. How much was it again? 

It’s $24.95.

Very affordable, just for the peace of mind of having a tool to work through this process. So I’m definitely going to be grabbing one of those! 

Oh great! And for all of your members in your group, the UM Club, if they add the code UMCLUB to their purchase, we’ll give them 20% off. 

Oh, fantastic! I’ll get that information from you and we’ll add it in. We are coming up to time, I know you have some other appointments. Is there any other last resources or thoughts you would like to share with the community? 

Just do it, I think is it. I find a lot of the time is people finding someone that they trust to get started. I hear that about myself, you need to work with somebody that works for you, as well. I would say get yourself educated around financial matters, go online and listen to – there’s some good information on everything. Start understanding what you own, and what you owe, and increase your financial literacy, because really, that’s your estate

So the digital – I’ve got sections in this book all about digital. You know, that is really complicated, because so much is online. It used to be we would have a life cycle of a month, and you’d get paperwork come in the mail. We don’t have that anymore. So I would say documenting information, talking to family about what you have. If you’ve done a will, let them know, let your trusted persons know where you have these documents. But I’d say if you don’t have it, get one done, because everybody needs one. 

If you’re looking at a will and you already have one, review it, make sure it meets your current circumstance. It’s certainly good to update them if you have changed information. And ex spouses still on your will is a bad thing. So I do actually, through my website carternotary.com, I’ve got some good sessions that I posted on YouTube that you can access from the site, on making wills, why you shouldn’t do a do-it-yourself will, powers of attorney, health considerations, and I’ve got a very educational approach. And people really find that helpful. 

Great, we’ll link some of those as well. 

Well, this has been awesome. Thank you, Jannine. 

Yeah, thank you very much. 

I’m very excited!

Yeah me too! Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with all of us today. And thank you to all of our members who have tuned in, I’m looking forward to carrying on the conversation within our private Facebook group and our group chat as well. Alright, that’s it for now, I’ll talk to you guys later!

Thank you for listening, I can’t wait to see you over on the UM Club Facebook page to discuss this week’s episode! Make sure to keep an eye out for more exclusive content, and a new episode every week!