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?