What is estate planning?

Estate planning involves creating legal documents and processes that must be followed when you are incapacitated or die. Estate planning helps manage the distribution of your assets. For example, who should receive your house when you die? Who should inherit your car? Who should receive your jewellery? An estate plan helps give direction on how your assets should be dealt with.

Who should you have an estate plan?

Anyone who wishes for their assets to be given to one or more of their loved ones after they die should have an estate plan.

Why does everyone need an estate plan?

An estate plan can help you reduce taxes and prevent your loved ones from experiencing legal problems when you die. Having an estate plan means that your valuable assets will not be subjected to the Succession Law Reform Act and it will be dealt with according to your wishes in your Will.

Who will decide what happens to your estate if you die without a Will?

If you die without a Will in Ontario, the Succession Law Reform Act governs how your assets will be distributed. There will also be added time delays and expenses involved in wrapping up your affairs and the court will have to appoint someone to act as your personal representative.

How can an Estate plan help you and your family?

Estate Planning is so much more than just drafting a Will. It’s about creating a legacy that says everything about you. When you die you leave behind assets, which make up your estate. Estate plan enables you to choose who inherits your assets and controls your finances if you die and how your assets are distributed. If you have children, pets, or have other loved ones who depend on you and that you care about, having an Estate Plan is essential.

Here are common reasons why people put of an estate plan:

1. Procrastination/Lack of planning
2. Failure to update your plan
3. Thinking they are too young to have an estate plan
4. Not wanting to talk about death
5. It’s too expensive to make an estate plan
6. Unsure where to start

It is important to state that estate planing is not a long and difficult process. It will have substantial value to you and your family in the long term. See below why you should take the time and get it done! Our experts at WillAndEstates.Lawyers are ready and available to help you with the process and finalize it in the most speedy and efficient manner. Give us a ring!

Six reasons why you NEED an estate plan

1. Plan for your own needs

Although most people prefer to think of estate planning as something used when they die. Many do not realize if you become disabled or cannot make decisions for yourself, it can also protect you and your properties in these circumstances! Estate planning also makes provision for you to estimate and plan your cash flow needs leading to your retirement and beyond.

2. To dispose of your wealth in the manner you wish

Remember if you do not have an estate plan such as a Will the Succession Law Reform Act will decide how your assets are distributed after you die. But if you have a valid Will then this will ensure that your assets are dispersed in the manner you want when you die. Always review your Will to ensure that it is current and that it sets out clearly what you want! All your hard work in terms of your assets and wealth demands your say only!

3. To minimize tax

Good estate planning can help save you money! If you accumulated lots of assets and you intend on transferring it to your family or your loved ones, then estate planning can help you. But how? The estate planning process can assist you to find the best way to transfer your wealth in the most tax efficient way.

4. To protect your family wealth

As you grow wealthier, you may become more prone to lawsuits that can be an attempt to benefit from your hard-earned wealth that you have accumulated. However, you have the power to protect your wealth and your family from frivolous lawsuits. How can you protect your wealth? Estate planning can help protect your family’s wealth by removing your name from assets and putting them into trusts or limited liability entities. Contact us at WillsAndEstates.Lawyer if you wish to get more information on this and start your estate planning journey with us! Our experts are ready and willing to help you.

5. To Plan for Philanthropic goals

You may want to create a family foundation or a donor -advised fund to support causes important to you. These things are often referred to as philanthropic intentions. Did you know that creating a plan to ensure these goals of yours are implemented can also fall part of your estate plan process? Your estate plan can give direction on how this should be implemented or created. Always remember the sooner you start planning the more prepared you will be and your family to tackle any problems that may arise now or in the future.

Creating an estate plan can be as simple as completing three important documents.

The estate plan is more than these three documents – but this is a great way to get started and you will feel the peace of mind that many people experience!

1. A Will: This is the document that will set things right. A Will is a legal document that names an executor to handle your estate, gives instructions for how your estate should be distributed amongst your beneficiaries, and names someone to be the guardian of your minor dependents and pets. A Will takes effect only when you pass away, not while you’re alive.
2. Power of Attorney for Personal Care: Allows another person to instruct doctors and health care professionals in your care if you become mentally incapable of making these decisions for yourself.
3. Power of Attorney for Property: This allows you to name someone to be your financial agent. This person can be given the authority to handle your financial affairs (including paying your bills, collecting money owed to you, maintaining or selling your house, or managing your investments).

While you at it, download our free report: 27 Estate Planning Catastrophes And How To Avoid Them

If you already have an Estate Plan… consider reviewing it to make sure it is still consistent with your wishes.

Estate planning is not a one-time process. You must constantly review your current plan to ensure it fits your present family situation. It is recommended that you review and update your documents every 3-5 years or after any significant life events. Ask yourself whether there have been any major life changes since you last did your estate planning documents. Are you in the process of getting divorced? Have you remarried? Have you moved? Have you acquired any real estate? Has a spouse, child, or other beneficiary named in your documents passed away? Are there any new additions to your family? Do your documents simply not make sense to you anymore? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should talk to an estate planning lawyer about whether your documents need to be updated or changed.

By making sure that your Last Will and Testament is in place, valid and up to date you can:

• Protect your family’s financial future and inheritance
• Protect your family against debt liabilities from your business
• Save on taxes

Get started with The Ultimate Estate Plan Package – Our simple 3 step process to getting a lifetime estate plan in place makes it quick and easy to achieve your resolution and know that your family will be well taken care of if anything happens to you.

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