Estate Planning
5 minutes reading time

Estate Planning in Ontario: A Beginner's Guide

Written by
The Tabuchi Law Team
Published on
August 16, 2022

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of making arrangements for the distribution of your assets after you die. It also includes making plans for your care and financial management in case you become incapacitated.

Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?

There are many reasons why you need an estate plan, even if you are young and healthy. Here are a few examples:

  • To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which may not be what you want.
  • To minimize the burden on your loved ones. Estate planning can help to streamline the probate process and make it easier for your loved ones to settle your estate.
  • To provide for your minor children. If you have minor children, you need to appoint a guardian to care for them after you die. You may also want to establish a trust to provide for their financial needs.
  • To protect your assets from creditors. Estate planning can help to protect your assets from creditors after you die.
  • To ensure that your wishes are respected at the end of your life. Estate planning can help to ensure that your loved ones know your wishes for end-of-life care and that your wishes are respected.

What Are the Basic Elements of an Estate Plan?

The basic elements of an estate plan include:

  • Will: A will is a legal document that states how you want your assets to be distributed after you die.
  • Power of attorney: A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Living trust: A living trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee to manage on your behalf.

Other Estate Planning Considerations

In addition to the basic elements listed above, there are a number of other things to consider when creating an estate plan, such as:

  • Life insurance: Life insurance can be used to provide for your loved ones financially after you die.
  • Tax planning: Estate planning can help to reduce the amount of taxes that your estate will owe after you die.
  • Charitable giving: Estate planning can be used to make charitable donations after you die.

How to Create an Estate Plan

The best way to create an estate plan is to consult with an estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer can help you to understand your options and create a plan that meets your specific needs.

Example of Estate Planning in Ontario

Here is an example of a simple estate plan for a married couple with two minor children:

  • Will: The husband and wife will each create a will naming the other spouse as their primary beneficiary. They will also appoint a guardian for their minor children in case both parents die.
  • Power of attorney: The husband and wife will each grant a power of attorney to the other spouse. This will give each spouse the authority to make decisions on behalf of the other spouse if they become incapacitated.
  • Life insurance: The husband and wife will each purchase a life insurance policy naming the other spouse as the beneficiary. This will provide financial support for the surviving spouse and children after the death of one parent.

Estate Planning Law in Ontario

The following is a brief overview of some of the key estate planning laws in Ontario:

  • Wills: A will must be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the will.
  • Powers of attorney: A power of attorney must be in writing and signed by the grantor (the person giving the power of attorney) in the presence of a witness. The witness must also sign the power of attorney.
  • Trusts: A trust can be created orally or in writing. However, it is generally advisable to create a trust in writing so that there is a clear record of the terms of the trust.
Conclusion

Estate planning is an important part of financial planning. By creating an estate plan, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of after you die.

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