What is an Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan is your legal strategy for dealing with all of your property in the event you become disabled, incapacitated, or pass away. It is normally composed of your Will and Powers of Attorney, but can also involve trusts and other strategies.
Preparing an estate plan with a lawyer is important to:
1. Ensure you and your loved ones are protected in the event you become disabled or pass away;
2. Ensure your assets are protected, and debts managed if you are incapacitated or incapable;
3. Minimize disputes among your heirs and family members;
4. Reduce the taxes that will otherwise be owed by your estate; and
5. Help you protect and provide for vulnerable family members.
What is a Will and why do I need one?
Your Will is a formal document outlining your wishes with respect to the distribution of your assets upon your passing.
Important questions to be addressed in your Will include:
1. Who will be in charge of paying your debts, taxes, and distributing your assets after you pass away?
a. Who are your backups if these people predecease you?
2. Who will inherit your property?
a. Who are the backups if these people predecease you?
3. How old should your children be before they have access to their inheritance?
4. Who will be the guardian of your children if both parents pass away?
5. Who will inherit your business?
6. Who will take care of your pets if you have any?
Is your loved one receiving government benefits such as ODSP? If they inherit money from you, they may no longer qualify for such payments. You should speak to our legal team about preparing a Henson trust to provide for your loved one while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits.
Secondary properties (cottages, investment properties, etc.) will be subject to capital gains tax payable
by your estate in the event you pass away. How will this tax be paid? If you don’t plan accordingly your
family may need to sell your secondary properties just to cover this tax.
Did you know that if your child’s RESP no longer has living subscribers, the RESP can collapse and all
government benefits are clawed back? Speak to our legal team about arranging backup subscribers in
your Will to maintain your child’s RESP.
Wills and Powers of Attorney are only valid if drafted whilst you have mental capacity. Accidents or age-
related illnesses can lead to cognitive decline making it virtually impossible for you to draft you’re a
legally enforceable Will or Power of Attorney. Don’t wait – book now.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
Without a Will, you have no control over who will manage your estate, and how your assets will be distributed. This can lead to unintended consequences including disputes among your family members, paying excessive estate tax, children inheriting property at the age of 18, court appointed guardians, and more.
What about online order Wills, “Will Kits”, or “Fill-in-the-blank Wills”? Do they Work?
Online order Wills can be unreliable. They may be outdated, based on old law, or designed for use in other provinces or countries. By their very nature, they won’t take into account many details which make you and your estate unique, such as eligibility for government benefits, estate tax, and more. Strict laws regarding the drafting, validity, and signing of Wills means you run the risk that your Will is not accepted by the Court, and your estate is administered as though you never had a Will.
By working with a lawyer who is up to date on current estate planning laws and the practical realities of administering an estate, you will have the peace of mind that your wishes and your family will be taken care of.
What is a Power of Attorney and why do I need one?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document granting individuals the authority to make decisions on your
behalf. These decisions can involve your financial, legal, or health-related matters. They can be of critical
importance if you are incapacitated, or experiencing mental decline.
Without a Power of Attorney your loved ones may be unable to pay your bills, speak to the doctor on
your behalf, move you to a care facility, and more. This often leads to disputes between family members
concerning your care, or unpaid bills and default charges.
What is involved in preparing my Estate Plan and how do I get started?
Preparing your estate plan is easy! It involves two phone calls (or meetings if you prefer), and a final
signing appointment. Calls typically take thirty minutes or less. We can also drive to meet your loved
ones if they’re incapable of coming to our office for signing.
To book your first appointment please give us a call, or use the following button to schedule at your