Estate Planning – Wills and Powers of Attorney
What is a will?
A will is an expression of your wishes upon death and an essential estate planning tool.
What happens if I don’t have a will?
If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with Government legislation, which may not be in accordance with your wishes.
By making a will you can ease the pain and financial burden on your loved ones.
Wolfe, Smith & Forster LLP will prepare a will for you which is tailored to your specific circumstances.
Your will should clearly set out the manner in which you would like your property distributed following your death as well as name the individual(s) who you would like to look after the administration of your estate.
The will created for you by Wolfe, Smith & Forster LLP may make special provision for:
- a disabled beneficiary
- guardianship of your minor child or children
- the age at which you wish your minor children to receive an inheritance
- a spendthrift beneficiary
- money loaned by you to a beneficiary during your lifetime
- both your spouse and your children in a second marriage situation
- a marriage breakdown experienced by a beneficiary
In order to be valid, your will must satisfy a number of legal requirements. If these requirements are not complied with your will may be deemed invalid or become the subject of estate litigation.
Wolfe, Smith & Forster LLP will ensure that the legal requirements of your will are met. A properly drafted will created by a lawyer can minimize the cost and delays associated with administering your estate, ease the pain and financial burden experienced by your loved ones and reduce the potential for litigation thus leaving more money for your beneficiaries.
Powers of Attorney
What is Power of Attorney?
Having properly prepared powers of attorney is just as important as having a will. Powers of attorney are documents which take effect while you are living. They are a mechanism for you to appoint an individual or individuals to look after your affairs should you become mentally or physically incapacitated prior to your death.
There are two types of powers of attorney:
- Power of Attorney for Personal Care
- Power of Attorney for Property
What is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care?
The Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows the individual or individuals you appoint to make decisions on your behalf about your healthcare and shelter in the event that you become incapacitated during your lifetime. This document is sometimes referred to as a “living will”.
What is a Power of Attorney for Property?
The Power of Attorney for Property allows the individual or individuals you appoint to make decisions on your behalf with respect to your property and financial affairs should you become physically or mentally incapacitated during your lifetime.
Does Everyone Need Powers of Attorney?
If an individual does not execute Powers of Attorney the result can be an expensive and time consuming court process. It is often necessary for a court application to be commenced to obtain guardianship of the person or their property.
If you have been named as an Estate Trustee you may be feeling overwhelmed by the task of administering an estate.
Wolfe, Smith & Forster LLP can assist you with the administration of an estate. Our services include:
- providing you with an interpretation of the will
- advising you as to the duties and obligations of an Estate Trustee
- assisting you with your duties as Estate Trustee
- preparation of the Application for Certificate of Appointment and filing the Application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice
- preparation of the documentation necessary to transfer or sell estate assets
- preparation of estate accounts and bookkeeping records
- preparation of releases to be signed by the beneficiaries when they receive their share of the estate
- advising you as to requirements under the Income Tax Act
- distribution of assets to beneficiaries