Preparing a Will and Estate Planning

Estate planning is more than just hiring an estate lawyer to prepare Will and Power of Attorney documents. It is a financial and personal exercise – with the goal of maximizing wealth transfer by limiting Estate Administration Tax and other wealth transfer taxes and making important decisions about how your affairs will be distributed.

Estate planning involves working with an Estate Lawyer to figure out how to protect the interests of children, family members with special needs, and how to keep assets protected against threats from creditors, family law claims, and litigation from those who seek a bigger share of your estate.

We will work to help you achieve peace of mind, knowing that you have done everything possible to put things in order for the benefit of your family and other beneficiaries.  For more information see our Introduction to Estate Planning and Estate Planning Strategies articles.

In Ontario, if you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to a statutory formula dictated by the Succession Law Reform Act. Even if your family situation is straightforward and your financial affairs are simple, there is every chance that the statutory formula will not be as you would have wished.  For example, if you have minor children (i.e. under 18 years old), a certain portion of your estate will be set aside for them and will not be available to your spouse.  If resources are limited, not having access to that portion of your estate could cause your spouse hardship.

An Estate Lawyer works with you, your accountant and your financial adviser, to identify:

  • Who should act as your executors?
  • What are the assets which will pass under your Will?
  • What other assets or financial resources do you have? Do you have family trusts or companies, pension funds, insurance policies, or business interests through partnerships, joint ventures or other structures? Are there assets overseas?
  • How do you want your assets distributed on your death?
  • Are there family members who need special consideration, and should have their inheritance dealt with in a special way to protect their interests?
  • Are there certain assets which require special arrangements, such as a family cottage?
  • Do you have pets that you wish to have taken care of?
  • Do you have children from a previous marriage?
  • How can your estate be organized to minimize Estate Administration Tax and other taxes?
  • How can succession be addressed, for family companies and businesses?
  • Does a testamentary trust make sense in your circumstances?

Hire us as your Estate Lawyer and we will work with you until we have a clear picture of your circumstances, then prepare a Will, Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Personal Care and other documents designed to achieve your objectives. If you have a business, we will also discuss business succession issues and help you take steps that maximize the value and minimize disruption at the time of succession.


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