Wills and Succession Planning

Toronto Estate Lawyers For Wills, Estates and Powers Of Attorney

According to a recent survey, the majority of Canadian adults (56%) do not have a will. If you die without a will, you will lose control over what happens when you die. Your estate and your loves ones will incur costs far greater than the cost of making a will. The administration of the estate will be delayed as it can take several months until the court appoints someone to administer the estate. A well-drafted will give you peace of mind knowing that your estate will be settled according to your wishes and that your loved ones are protected. LAWPRO released a video that illustrates those issues.

Wills are legal document, so invest in a professionally prepared Will. Do-it-yourself Will kits are no substitute for qualified and specific professional advice.  Wills are the cornerstone of your estate and tax plan. Unintended errors or omissions in a Will can delay or thwart administration of your Estate. They can be very costly to your executors and intended beneficiaries, and in some extreme cases, entirely undermine the validity of a Will. Why would you risk overpaying taxes and causing your loved ones trouble?

A Will is reasonably economical to prepare with proper legal assistance and in many cases, we at Duensing Law can offer you a fixed fee.

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Even if you have completed a Will, you may not have it signed properly or it was not properly witnessed. If your witnesses predecease you or cannot be located, and no such Affidavits of Execution are available, your Will may be rejected, and thus open the door to bitter family disputes and costly litigation. And often the costs of the litigation, i.e the lawyers’ fees, are paid out of your Estate before any beneficiaries receives money.

All this issue can be avoided if you retain us as your Wills lawyer. We will use the language required to ensure that your Will expresses your wished accurately and precisely. We will ensure that your Will is customized to your unique situation and needs. Knowing that a qualified, licenced and insured legal professional is protecting your interests will give you peace of mind.

We at Duensing Law in Toronto provide professional expertise and advice regarding life and end-of-life issues such as the preparation of Last Wills and Testaments, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives, also known as Living Wills. We structure your affairs both during your lifetime and after your death in accordance with your wishes.

In many cases we can offer package prices for wills and powers of attorney. Particular attention is paid to simplicity and efficiency of administration while ensuring that the client’s goals and objectives are met, such as:

  • Reduction of Administration Tax/probate fees, payable on your death;
  •  Guardians for minor children;
  • Provisions of trust for your children;
  • Defined age for when your children and grandchildren will receive their inheritance;
  • Henson trusts set up for individuals with special needs, so they keep receiving government assistance after you pass;
  • Exclusion of your children’s inheritance from equalization should they separate from their spouse;
  • Provisions to have a common law spouse, friend or charity receive assets;
  • Power to Executor to elect under Income Tax Act which may reduce tax payable on your death and during the administration of your estate;
  • Power to access your digital assets.

If you don’t have a will or appropriate powers of attorney, your estate will be dealt with in accordance with the statutory scheme for intestate succession or the law governing guardianship of people unable to manage their own affairs. Making a will is a process that can save much hardship and confusion for your loved ones.

“I found Matthias to be genuine, thoughtful, prepared, conscientious, amenable to multiple last minute changes, reasonable, knowledgeable and he made a challenging process relatively easy to get through. I would not hesitate to recommend him and have already told friends that, when and if they need estate help, I’d be happy to make a recommendation.” 

-A.H, Toronto

Updating Your Will

It is important to periodically review your will. There are also a number of circumstances which might warrant a review and possible revision of your will and estate plan:

  • Death of a beneficiary or estate trustee.
  • Estate Trustee leaves Ontario.
  • Declining health of the estate trustee or a beneficiary.
  • Marriage (marriage revokes a will if it is was not made in contemplation of marriage).
  • Birth of a child.
  •  Separation and divorce.
  • Changes in tax law.

Powers of Attorney

In Ontario, powers of attorney provide for health care decisions and financial management by a trusted and chosen loved one or advisor while a person who is living cannot make those decisions. You can designate as much or as little power as you wish to your ‘attorney’.

The powers conferred by the power of attorney for property may be exercised at any time, but are generally intended to enable the designated person to administer your affairs during any subsequent incapacity, although a power of attorney is frequently used to enable someone to deal with your affairs while you are travelling or otherwise unavailable.

The second type of power of attorney is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. This enables the designated person to make decisions regarding care and medical treatment when you are unable to do so due to incapacity.

If you do not have Powers of Attorney in place when you become incapable of making your own decisions, a court will appoint a guardian for property or for personal care, and you will have no say in that decision. A power of attorney makes your preferences of a substitute decision maker clear. If none of your family members or friend volunteers to be appointed as guardian, the court will appoint Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee as guardian for property or for personal care, that is the government will make decisions for you. This can generally be avoided by executing powers of attorney.

We structure your affairs both during your lifetime and after your death in accordance with your wishes.

Our service is discrete, confidential, and cost-effective. 

Contact us by email or by telephone to arrange a consultation.