Located in Toronto? Choose Duensing Law for preparing your Will – a legal document that lays out how your assets should be distributed and your estate should be handled after you pass away.
We recommend you invest in a professionally prepared Will and stay away from DIY’s since those may not be valid if not signed or witnessed correctly. Wills are crucial to your estate and tax plan and any mistakes or oversights in a Will can impede the administration of your Estate. Avoid this financial burden for your executors and beneficiaries and do not take the risk of overpaying taxes and causing difficulties for your loved ones.
Surveys indicate that the majority of Canadian adults (over 56%) do not have a legally binding Will. We recommend you do not fall into that category and avoid future issues by choosing Duensing Law as your Wills lawyer. We ensure that your Will is written in the proper legal language, reflects your wishes accurately, and is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. With the assurance that a licensed and insured legal professional is looking out for your interests, you can have peace of mind. At Duensing Law in Toronto, we specialize in providing expert advice and guidance on life and end-of-life matters. This includes drafting Last Wills and Testaments, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Directives, also known as Living Wills. We work to ensure that your affairs are arranged according to your wishes both during your lifetime and after.
What Happens If You Do Not Have A Will
In Ontario, if you pass away without a Will your spouse is entitled to the first $350,000.00 of your estate as the preferential share. The remaining assets will be divided with half going to your spouse and half to your child if applicable. If you have more than one child, your spouse will receive 1/3 of the remaining assets and the rest will be divided equally among your children.
If you have no spouse or common law partner your assets will be divided equally among your children as per the law of the province or territory. This may not align with everyone’s desires for example if you have estranged children or children with varying needs. Stepchildren are not considered legal heirs under most Canadian jurisdictions and would not be entitled to inherit so to ensure they receive a portion of your estate, it is essential to have a valid Will in place.
In Canada, minor children are not legally able to own property thus any assets intended for your children upon your death will be managed by the government on their behalf. It’s important to note that this service comes with a cost since the government takes a portion of the funds each year as a fee for managing them. Sometimes these administrative and governmental fees can even be more than the interest earned on the funds. Given this, it is important for parents of minor children to have a Will that not only designates a guardian in the event of their death but also names a person to hold their children’s inheritance in trust for them. This person is often the Executor named in the Will, but can also be someone different.
Siblings are an example where multiple people want to have the same priority for being named an Administrator. Some jurisdictions also have a limit on the number of people who can be named together as Administrator and this is usually capped at 3. This means that all those with an equal right to apply for the role must agree on the chosen person and give up their own right to apply. If they cannot reach an agreement on how to handle your estate, it can lead to conflicts as well as financially and emotionally draining litigation. Not having a Will can also lead to the court appointing someone you would have chosen not to handle your affairs, such as an estranged sibling or an disliked relative. The court also has the right in making arrangements for your funeral and memorial.
If you pass away without a Will, your estate is considered an “intestacy” and you are said to have died “intestate.” In this case, the laws of the province where you reside will determine the distribution of your property. At Duensing Law we help organize your personal and legal matters according to your preferences while you are alive and after your passing. Our services are private, confidential, and budget-friendly. To schedule a consultation with a reputable wills and succession lawyer in Toronto, please contact us at (416) 601-4769.