Making a Will & Planning Your Estate in Ontario
Life can take an unexpected turn for anyone. It’s best to be prepared and have your will and estate plan in place in the event that anything happens to you.
A will and estate planning are not legally required in Ontario, however, to ensure your assets are divided as you wish, it’s best to continue updating your will and estate plan throughout your life.
In the event that you pass away without these legal documents in order, the laws in your province will be the ones responsible for deciding how your estate will be divided.
Making a will or planning your estate in Ontario can seem like a daunting task, but with the help of a trusted lawyer, you’ll be done in no time!
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes after you pass away. It tells your loved ones, family, and power of attorney how to distribute assets such as your property, money, and anything of sentimental value.
If you pass away without a will, you’re considered to die intestate. If this is the case, courts will use provincial law to determine how your assets are distributed. To do so, they use the Succession Law Reform Act.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning includes legal documents and preparations for your family. An estate plan includes everything from a “living will” in the event that you can’t make decisions for yourself, to your last will and final testament for after you pass away.
It outlines details like who the executor of your estate is, a guardian for your children (if they’re still minors), and more. It is now common to include digital assets and pets when planning your estate.
Having an estate plan in place provides you peace of mind and takes a huge burden off of your loved ones
Will & Estate Planning in Ontario
Although you’re not required to work with a lawyer to make a will in Ontario, it comes with its benefits! For instance, if you have a complex estate or have custom clauses you want to include in your will, a lawyer ensures that everything is listed properly.
Four Important Factors to consider when estate planning:
- Complexity of your estate – when planning your estate, consider everything from your foreign assets, business assets, investments, who your dependants are, and more. A Lawyer will be able to help you account for everything in your estate plan and help you keep things up to date throughout your life.
- Stage of life you’re in – as you go through life, your situation changes. Do you still have children who are dependent on you, what about elderly parents? An estate planning lawyer will ensure you think of all the details to ensure nothing is forgotten.
- Personal goals – ask yourself why you’re planning your estate, and who it’s for. This will help you keep the interests of your loved ones in mind while you’re planning.
- Who you do trust – you need to appoint an executor of your will. This is someone who you know is reliable so you can trust that they’ll carry out the wishes of your will after you pass away.
In Ontario, a will must meet the following criteria to be considered legal:
- The will must be created by you when you’re over the age of majority in Ontario (18 years old)
- The document must be signed in the presence of two valid witnesses
- The witnesses must sign the final page of your will with you
- Your will must be signed in wet ink and stored as a physical document (a digital copy is invalid)
Having a valid last will and final testament in place will ensure your family is not carrying any additional burden while they mourn you. It can also cause delays in the distribution of your estate if things are unclear.
Preparing a Will & Planning Your Estate With Dabros Law
At Dabros Law, our estate planning lawyer will help you determine your assets and how you would like them distributed.
A will that is properly drafted provides you with the ability to control the conditions of your inheritances and decide how you would like your estate to be distributed all while reducing the hardships on your loved ones.
Whether you need to create a will, or need updates or changes made to an existing one, reach out to our estate planning lawyer in Ottawa.