Why Do I Need A Will ?
Every adult who owns assets or has a spouse or young children should have a will. But surprisingly, many people don’t. The few hours that you spend with a lawyer planning your estate could save your spouse, children, and other beneficiaries much time, effort, and money. If you don’t have a will, you lose control over who gets how much of your estate and when. You also give up the right to appoint a guardian for any young children you have. Last, but not the least, the costs to administer your estate will be much higher.
What Happens If I Pass Away Without A Will in Toronto Area?
This is called an “intestacy”. In such a case, your spouse, child or a close relative can apply to the courts to be appointed as the person to handle your estate. It is a cumbersome process that can be avoided with a properly drafted and executed Will. If you have no family or relatives and you pass away without a will, your estate will go to the government. Therefore, it is important to have knowledgeable lawyers record your wishes in a legal will and structure your will so as to avoid unnecessary tax costs.
Can I Write My Own Will?
Legally, yes. However, even a hand-written holograph Will must meet certain requirements in order for it to be valid. A well drafted Will can save your estate a lot of money, e.g. expensive legal fees, court costs and delays. If a Will is vague or confusing, it may even be necessary to bring the Will before the court to have a judge interpret its terms. At Beffa Law you will receive advice on how to reduce or eliminate probate fees and taxes, which will often result in savings of thousands of dollars. Without specialized legal advice, uncertainty and confusion may arise which could result in entirely avoidable and very costly estate litigation and family conflict.
How Often Should I Update My Will ?
There is no strict requirement, but you should certainly review your Will on a periodic basis to ensure that your wishes and intentions are still accurately reflected in your Will. Certainly, any material changes in your life or your assets should give rise to a review of your Will.
Why Do I Need A Power-Of-Attorney For Property ?
A Power-of-Attorney for Property can prove very useful when you are unable to manage your own financial and property affairs. In designating someone that you trust to act as your attorney for property you are ensuring that your affairs can be managed by someone on your behalf and in your name. Such a document can be limited in time or in relation to specific property items or financial accounts and can be conditional on certain events (i.e. medical incapacity). Many Powers of Attorney for Property are drafted without condition or qualification and can be exercised immediately following the execution of the Power of Attorney.
When Does A Power Of Attorney For Property Take Effect?
When the power of Attorney for Property takes effect depends on the language of each specific Power of Attorney for Property, but the Power of Attorney can take effect immediately.
Why Do I Need A Power Of Attorney For Personal Care ?
The Power of Attorney for Personal Care provides you with an opportunity to name someone to make decisions on your behalf that relate to your personal and medical care if you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself. It can be a very helpful document, but there are some strict conditions that must be followed in order for the Power of Attorney for Personal care to be valid.
When Does A Power-Of-Attorney For Personal Care Take Effect ?
The Power-of-Attorney for Personal Care can only be properly exercised when you are no longer able to make such decisions yourself.
What Is “Probate” ?
This word is commonly used but has been replaced in Ontario by a “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee”. The issuance of a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee in an estate is the judicial validation of the appointment of an Estate Trustee who has either been designated under a Will or who has volunteered under an intestacy. Once a Certificate of Appointment has been issued by the court, the appointed Estate Trustee can then proceed with the administration of the deceased’s estate and deal with the deceased’s assets and liabilities in accordance with the terms of the applicable Will or statute, if there is no Will.
Is There A Fee Associated With The Issuance Of Probate?
The estate administration tax is a charge assessed by the Government of Ontario that is due upon the submission of an application for a Certificate of Appointment and is tied to the value of the estate of the deceased individual at the time of his/her death.
How Can I Reduce My Estate’s Exposure To The Estate Administration Tax?
This tax is very much linked to the character and composition of your assets at the time of your death. While there are some techniques to reduce this potential liability, you must also be certain that any such effort does not prejudice the total objectives of your estate plan.
How Long Does It Take To Administer An Estate?
This depends on the composition of the estate and the instructions in the Will. If the Will provides for a trust in favour of a child or other trusteeship the estate could be maintained as long as required by the trust terms within the Will. The length of time taken to complete the administration of an estate usually depends on the filing all necessary tax returns on behalf of the deceased and his/her estate and in obtaining a clearance certificate from Canada Revenue Agency that confirms that all such returns have been received and taxes fully paid.