April 11, 2018

By: Jennifer Foster

Do-it-yourself will kits can be an inexpensive option in the short term, but the final product is often created without attention the most important aspects of estate planning. Ensuring that your will is executed the way you intend requires a thoughtful and knowledgeable consideration of the finer points of the law in this area. Ambiguity in the terms of the will may invite legal challenge or require judicial interpretation. These processes can be expensive and may not attract a positive outcome, in addition to draining estate resources. An experienced estate planning lawyer is essential in helping to ensure that a will complies with relevant laws and that the estate plan accurately reflects the intentions of the testator.

An estate lawyer corresponds with the client’s financial advisers and accountants to ensure all aspects of an estate are being considered. Tax and succession planning in respect of family businesses ensure that the fruits of your lifelong labour are available to your family and other beneficiaries. Informed legal advice can help you reduce the effects of ‘probate tax,’ which is a rate of tax payable to the Ontario government and scaled against the value of a deceased’s estate. Careful consideration of income tax implications on death can turn a will into an effective tax planning instrument.

Will drafting and estate planning are two very different exercises. A carefully planned estate is involves more than simply setting out the executors and beneficiaries of an estate-a carefully planned estate brings a greater degree of certainty and value to your drafted will. An estate lawyer is instrumental in helping to create this estate plan to maximize the value of your estate for your beneficiaries, in a way that is reflects your wishes.