Planning an estate will is essentially creating a road map for how your assets, namely property and money, will be divided after you’ve passed away. It also defines how other vital personal matters will be handled as per your instructions. Often, this includes the names of people who will take care of your children and/or pets.
However, there are several challenges you will most likely face once you begin the process of creating an estate will, as the options and process can be overwhelming. While not mandatory, it’s a topic that deserves more attention as it ensures your wishes are carried out the way you wanted after you die.
Let’s take a look at estate planning in Canada, including how to get started as well as the process, as recommended by our real estate lawyers in Mississauga.
Preparing an Estate Will: Important Things to Know (By Real Estate Lawyers in Mississauga)
If you have decided to plan your estate will, now is the time to go through this handy guide to ensure you get it done properly.
Why do you need to plan an estate will?
Just like we should have a financial plan in place as we age to map out our financial goals, it’s necessary to plan your estate to achieve your financial objectives. This guarantees a tax-efficient and timely transfer of your assets to your family and loved ones.
Here are some other reasons why you need to plan your estate early:
- Implementing Tax-Saving Strategies – By having a plan in place, you avoid taxes that may be applicable to your estate through the use of trusts and other tools. For instance, life insurance death benefits are paid to your beneficiaries without additional taxes.
- Choosing Your Heirs – In case of your untimely death and the absence of a will, there is no indication to those left behind who will receive your assets. Often in such instances, the courts make the final decision. Or, even worse, if you have children who are minors and if the other parent were to die, the court will appoint a guardian for them.
- Making it Easier for Your Loved Ones – By planning an estate will, you help your heirs make important decisions when it comes to your finances and assets. Additionally, it ensures that they receive the assets as soon as possible.
Should you hire a professional to prepare your estate will?
If an estate will isn’t prepared correctly, it will not be valid, and that’s as good as not having a will at all. There can be severe consequences for your loved ones in the absence of a will.
On the other hand, by hiring a real estate lawyer, you will have someone to guide you while considering different possibilities and issues you are probably unaware of.
Many real estate lawyers in Mississauga and other parts of Ontario charge a flat fee to help individuals prepare their estate will. This way, no matter how long it takes to create the final version, it will cost you the same amount as discussed in the beginning. But you should get in touch with different lawyers to determine what they charge and the services they offer to ensure you make the right choice.
While you can try to make a will yourself by using templates kits, it’s best to refrain from doing so. As already stated, an estate will that isn’t prepared properly is as good as there not being one.
Should you name an estate representative?
In a nutshell, an estate representative is someone you appoint to manage your estate once you’ve passed away and followed instructions outlined in your last will. They are also often called an executor, a liquidator, or an estate trustee. It’s important to note that it is possible to name more than one person to be your estate representative.
Furthermore, you have complete freedom to choose an estate representative; it can be a friend, a family member, or a third party like a financial professional. It’s in your best interest to speak to them beforehand to ensure they are comfortable following through and acting upon the responsibilities appointed to them.
If you fail to name an estate representative or didn’t make a will, the territorial or provincial courts will name someone to manage your estate.
How do you create a will with the help of a real estate lawyer?
While many people may think preparing an estate will with a real estate lawyer is expensive, this isn’t the case. Furthermore, it is the best course of action, as they will be able to provide insights and advice on various aspects that are unique to their client’s situation. They will also have the experience to handle complicated estate plans and be well-versed enough in estate taxes to minimize them.
When is the best time to have an estate will drafted by a lawyer?
Here are some instances when it’s in your best interest to consider hiring a real estate lawyer to draft your estate will:
- When you have questions and/or concerns surrounding your estate plan that only someone with legal expertise can help out with.
- When you want to minimize the taxes that will be owed by your estate.
- When you can afford to pay a real estate lawyer’s fee.
- When your estate planning is complex, you are separated from your spouse or partner but not divorced, or your child has a disability. Furthermore, there may be instances when you require a dual will or want to add custom clauses, such as a requirement that must be fulfilled or satisfied before the beneficiary is entitled to your estate.
While planning your estate might not be the most fun task, it’s necessary to put some thought into it and take action, especially for individuals with young children. A real estate attorney has the experience and knowledge to draft an estate will that is deemed legal in Canada. Remember, by planning beforehand, you will have the advantage of implementing tax-efficient estate strategies that will be helpful for your beneficiary.