Everyone needs an Estate Plan. Everyone.
There is no excuse for not making an estate plan. Almost everyone should have a will.
The additional pain, grief and cost that you inflict on your family and loved ones if you have not made a proper estate plan are substantial.
If you are not married and live common law then it is absolutely imperative that you make a will. If you do not, every aspect of your estate will be dictated by law, and, none of your estate will go to your common law partner. Learn more about the consequences of not having a will here.
Wills do not need to be expensive, time-consuming, or stressful to make.
We do estate planning and will drafting by video
We use state of the art software and video conferencing to provide estate planning services across Ontario. We also provide extended business hours so that you can complete your estate planning from the comfort of your home.
Start by reviewing our free eBook: Estate Plans and Wills A Practical Guide
Prices for our services are here: Pricing for Estate Plans
For most people, preparing a will should be ‘straightforward but not simple’.
First plan, then draft
Before you draft a will you need an estate plan. There are many issues that should be considered to ensure that your estate plan is fair, tax efficient, and effective. These issues include:
- your obligations
- your wishes
- income taxes
- probate taxes.
Many people fixate on avoiding probate taxes. This is a serious mistake; probate tax minimization is a legitimate consideration, but rarely the most important consideration. DIY probate miniization leads to many of the most painful mistakes in estate planning.
When is estate planning simple?
Estate planning is at its simplest when your life resembles Beaver Cleaver. If you:
- Remain married to your one and only spouse
- Know that your spouse will outlive you and to remain competent when you die,
- Want your married spouse to inherit 100% of your assets and be free to do with them as they choose,
- Or, are a single and will never have another partner, and want your children to inherit equally your entire estate,
- Have no need for deferral of distribution of your estate after your death; your estate is to be distributed in full on your death (no trusts);
- Own no real estate other than your principle residence and it is in Ontario,
- Own no investments or assets of value outside your pension/RRSP/RRIF and perhaps life insurance and a TFSA,
then it is possible to develop a fairly simple plan that almost entirely avoids a will, is fair, effective, and tax-efficient. That said, it still takes thought and care to implement.
If your life differs from any one of the above, then ‘a really simple’ estate plan is out of the question.
The factors that complicate estate plans include:
- owning property outside Ontario;
- real estate that is not a prinicple residence (for instance, a cottage);
- obligations to a former spouse;
- a common law relationship;
- divorce, and subsequent relationships;
- wanting your children to inherit;
- blended families;
- a desire for tax or other reasons to defer distribution of some or all of the estate after your death (trusts – commonly for your spouse or children)
- children estranged from your partner, or from you, or from each other.