There are so many rules and regulations to be aware of while planning your financial and end-of-life affairs. We understand those challenges and appreciate that you may feel hesitant to discuss these personal aspects of your lives. When it comes to estate planning in Ontario, we’ll listen carefully and advise on the various avenues open to you to achieve your desired outcome.
Whether it be to set up a trust fund, create primary or secondary last wills and testaments, providing advice on living wills, Or grant powers of attorney, (sometimes called living wills) to cover situations where you are physically not capable of making decisions regarding your property or personal care. We are available to answer your questions and provide the guidance you require. As a part of estate planning we recommend you consider:
Power Of Attorney For Personal Care
If you’re unable to make a medical or personal care decision due to an injury or are otherwise incapacitated, the Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows you to legally appoint one or more attorneys to make decisions regarding your personal care on your behalf.
Power Of Attorney for Property
The Power of Attorney for Property allows your appointed attorney to deal with all aspects of your property in your absence or incapacitation. We always suggest appointing 2 attorneys for accountability and transparency.
The Impact of Specific Bequests
It is important to draft your Will by seeking professional advice because it can help avoid scenarios where your estate may be short on cash to pay taxes or debts, leaving the taxman or creditors chasing beneficiaries for the money.
Choose the Right Executor
It is recommended you choose an executor who is much younger than you. Also, it is advisable to name an alternative executor in the event your named executor is unable or unwilling to act in that role.
Protect Your Kids from a First Marriage
There are different ways to ensure your children do receive what you intend for them. You can place your assets in a spousal trust Where your spouse receives the income from your estate and your children receive the capital on the death of your second spouse.
The Probate Process
Your last Will and Testament is required to be legally proved at the time of your death. This is called probate, we assist your executor in going through this process. Most provinces charge a fee for probating a deceased's Will - and make no mistake this is a type of tax. The fees can be as high as approximately 1.5% in Ontario to no fees in Quebec (for notarial Wills).
There are several ways to minimize probate fees. It is advisable you take time to understand what your probate would look like and whether you will avoid fees by designating beneficiaries under your RRSP or RRIF and your life insurance policy.
If you hold certain assets jointly, with right of survivorship, those assets will pass outside of your estate directly to the other joint owner(s) at the time of your death and probate fees will be avoided.
Establishing Multiple Wills
The law in Ontario allows an individual to have more than one Will. This is to primarily differentiate between assets that need to go through probate and those that need not. It is imperative to draft the Will properly so that one does not revoke the other.
Not Giving Away Your Property to Avoid Probate Fees
Gifting properties to avoid probate fees is not recommended. It is important to ensure it fits with your overall intentions to help your heirs today and you don’t fall short to provide for yourself. Also, understand the costs of taxable capital gain prior to giving away assets that have appreciated in value.
Trust that is established during your lifetime is called inter vivos trust. It is sometimes recommended for high value estates. Inter vivos trusts should not be entered into without in depth consultation with your accountant as there could be tax and unintended personal
consequences once established.