April 28, 2023 | Danny McMullen and Luke Giffen
Five Things to Consider Before Drafting Your Will
In Ontario, having a properly drafted will is an essential component of estate planning. It is important to plan ahead and ensure that your wishes are clearly documented and legally enforceable. Here are five things that you should do to prepare for having your will drafted in Ontario:
1. Make a list of your assets and liabilities:
Before you meet with a lawyer to have your will drafted, it is important to make a list of all your assets and liabilities. This includes your bank accounts, investments, real estate, personal property, debts, and any other assets or liabilities you may have. This will help your lawyer determine how your assets will be distributed and ensure that your will is an accurate reflection of the assets you hold.
2. Choose your beneficiaries:
One of the most important decisions you will make when drafting your will is deciding who will inherit your assets. You should think carefully about who you would like to leave your assets to, and whether you want to make any special provisions for certain individuals or organizations. This may include your spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, charities, or other beneficiaries.
3. Consider your estate trustee:
Your estate trustee is the person who will be responsible for administering your estate after you pass away. You should carefully consider who you would like to appoint as your estate trustee, as this person will have significant responsibilities, including paying off any outstanding debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and filing tax returns. It is important to choose someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and capable of handling these responsibilities.
4. Determine whether you need a trust:
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to include a trust in your will. A trust is a legal arrangement where one person (the trustee) holds assets for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). There are many different types of trusts, and they can be used for a variety of purposes, such as protecting assets for minor children, providing for a disabled beneficiary, or reducing taxes. Your lawyer can help you determine whether a trust is necessary and which type of trust is best for your situation.
5. Considering potential powers of attorney:
The power of attorney is an extremely powerful document you should consider when drafting your will. There are two different types of power of attorney that you can designate different individuals for. First, the power of attorney for property is a document that grants your chosen individual with the power to deal with all of your property if you become incapable of managing it yourself. The one is given this power needs to act solely with your interests in mind. Second, we have the power of attorney for personal care. Someone given this power has the ability to make decisions respecting your personal care if you are incapable of making critical decisions. As noted, it is important to carefully consider who you will designate these powers to as they are both extremely powerful and important.
After you consider the above points, you’re now ready to meet with a lawyer to have your will drafted. Your lawyer can help you navigate the legal requirements for drafting a will in Ontario, ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes, and provide advice on any other estate planning issues you may need to address. It is important to choose a lawyer who is experienced in estate planning and has a thorough understanding of Ontario law.
In conclusion, preparing for the drafting of your will in Ontario involves careful consideration of your assets, beneficiaries, estate trustee, the need for a trust, and any powers of attorney you might need to designate. By following these steps, you can ensure that your estate plan is in order and that your wishes will be carried out as you intended.
If you have any specific wills and estates questions, please schedule a free consultation to see how we can best assist you.