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The purpose of this blog series is to give you a basic understanding of the key issues related to Estate Planning and Wills in Ontario. It is not legal advice and it is not a substitute for legal advice.

When people hear the words “estate planning” they immediately think drafting a Will. While drafting a Will is a component of it, estate planning encompasses a lot more than that. A Will can be a simple document, or a complex document, depending on your needs, but it achieves the same end goal – it says who will inherit your estate after you die.

We get asked a lot the question of “do we really need a Will?” The answer to that is – it is better safe than sorry.

Having your estate planning done can:

  • clearly outline how your property is to be divided and distributed
  • Minimize the risk of any fights between your beneficiaries
  • state your instructions as to who will look after your children and their property if you die
  • state who will carry out the instructions you left in your Will
  • minimizing tax consequences
  • Minimizes estate administration time and expense, including probate fees, legal and executor fees, and other costs.

The first step to estate planning is → Gathering the Facts.

Your lawyer will usually go through a detailed checklist asking you information such as:

  • your goals and expectations
  • your assets, and how they are owned
    • are they owned jointly with someone?
  • your family structure
    • do you have former spouses or financially dependent adult children?
  • your current and future legal obligations
    • what are your debts, such as mortgages, unpaid bills?
  • who will inherit your estate
    • will it be your wife only? Your wife and kids? A charity?