Wills and Estates
Estate planning is crucial for ensuring that your assets are handled properly and are distributed fairly and equitably to your surviving relatives and loved ones. Without a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act, and you will lose the ability to dispose of your estate in direct accordance with your wishes. Without proper estate planning your estate may also be the subject of costly and prolonged litigation between potential beneficiaries.
We can provide you with legal advice and assistance on all matters related to the estate planning process including the preparation of wills, powers of attorney, advice on taxation and tax planning, the creation of trusts and the administration and distribution of estates. We can also assist you in updating your will.
A will is designed to provide clear instructions to an Estate Trustee (Executor) after your passing, in order that he or she may be able to administer your estate in strict accordance with your wishes. In your will you can provide your Estate Trustee a wide variety of powers in dealing with your estate. These may include the power to defer distribution of your estate until a later date, to invest assets of your estate, to sell assets of your estate and to distribute these assets to beneficiaries in the form and manner of your choosing.
It can be of particular importance to seek out legal advice in cases where you wish to provide for your estate to be administered for the benefit of minor beneficiaries (children). In these cases a lawyer can assist you in:
- Appointing a trustee for minor beneficiaries.
- Arranging for a regular income or allowance to be paid to minor beneficiaries from your estate, prior to their age of majority.
- Arranging for monies to be paid to the parent or guardian of minor beneficiaries for their maintenance, education, care or for any other reason that your wish to specify.
- Arranging for a minor beneficiary to be given full control of his or her share of your estate when he or she reaches a specified age, either gradually or at one time.
- Specifying who will receive your personal and household effects.
Assistance can also be provided on creating powers of attorney for property and for personal care. Without a power of attorney, a guardian for property and personal care may be assigned to you by the court in cases of incapacity. The creation of a power of attorney can give you much needed security and control of your property, health care and living conditions in the event that you become incapacitated.
We can also be provide advice regarding taxes imposed on your estate and its beneficiaries. With proper planning you can save on taxes and probate fees for those you have named in your will.