Estate Planning in Ontario: Everything You Need to Know

By
The Tabuchi Law Team
January 5, 2023
5
min read
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What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process of making arrangements to distribute your assets after death. It is crucial for everyone, regardless of age or wealth, to have an estate plan in place. This is because:

  • If you die without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to intestacy laws. This may not be in line with your wishes.
  • An estate plan can help to minimize taxes and probate fees.
  • An estate plan can help to ensure that your minor children are cared for and your financial affairs are managed in the event of your incapacity.

Example

Let's say you have two children, a son and a daughter. You also have a pet dog. You want to make sure that your children receive your assets equally after you die, and that your dog is taken care of. You also want to minimize taxes and probate fees.

You could create a will that names your children as your beneficiaries to achieve your goals. You could also create a testamentary trust to hold your assets for your children until they reach adulthood. You could also designate a beneficiary for your pet insurance policy so that your dog is cared for after you are gone.

What documents do I need for estate planning?

The most important document for estate planning is a will. A will is a legal document that states how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. You can also use a will to appoint a guardian for your minor children and an executor to manage your estate.

Other documents that you may need for estate planning include:

  • A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
  • A testamentary trust is a type of trust that is created in your will. It can be used to hold your assets for your children until they reach adulthood or for other purposes.
  • A beneficiary designation is a form that you can use to designate a beneficiary for your life insurance policy, retirement account, or other financial accounts.
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How do I get started with estate planning?

The best way to start estate planning is to talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can help you to create a will and other estate planning documents that are tailored to your specific needs.

Here are some tips for getting started with estate planning:

  • Make a list of your assets and liabilities. This will help you to determine what assets you need to include in your estate plan.
  • Think about your goals for your estate plan. What do you want to happen to your assets after ou die? Who do you want to care for your minor children?
  • Gather essential documents, such as your birth, marriage, and divorce decree.
  • Talk to your loved ones about your estate plan. This will help to avoid any surprises after you are gone.

Estate planning can be a complex process, but it is essential for everyone to have an estate plan in place. By following the tips above, you can start creating an estate plan to protect your loved ones and assets.

Seek Legal Guidance

Using legal guidance when estate planning in Ontario is necessary for a number of reasons:

  • To ensure that your wishes are carried out: An estate planning lawyer can help you draft a will and other estate planning documents that clearly outline your wishes to distribute your assets after your death. This can help to avoid disputes among your loved ones and ensure that your estate is settled according to your intentions.
  • To minimize taxes: An estate planning lawyer can help you develop strategies to minimize the taxes your estate will owe after your death. This can save your loved ones a significant amount of money.
  • To protect your assets: An estate planning lawyer can help you structure your assets to protect them from creditors and other claimants. This can be especially important if you have a business or other valuable assets.
  • To provide for your loved ones: An estate planning lawyer can help you develop strategies to provide for your loved ones after your death. This may include setting up trusts for minor children or disabled beneficiaries, or creating a plan to cover the cost of long-term care.

In addition to the above benefits, an estate planning lawyer can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your affairs are in order and that your loved ones will be taken care of after you are gone.

Here are some specific examples of how an estate planning lawyer can help you:

  • If you have minor children: An estate planning lawyer can help you set up a trust to manage your assets for your children until they reach the age of majority. This can help to ensure that your children are financially secure and that their needs are met, even if you are not there to provide for them.
  • If you have disabled dependents: An estate planning lawyer can help you set up a trust to provide for the needs of your disabled dependents after your death. This trust can be used to pay for their care, housing, and other expenses.
  • If you have a business: An estate planning lawyer can help you develop a plan for the succession of your business after your death. This may involve transferring ownership of the business to your children or other loved ones, or selling the business to an outside party.
  • If you have a large estate: An estate planning lawyer can help you develop strategies to minimize the taxes your estate will owe after your death. This may involve using trusts, charitable giving, or other tax-planning techniques.

If you are considering estate planning in Ontario, I encourage you to consult with our experienced estate planning lawyers. At Tabuchi Law, we can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs and goals.

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