A majority of Canadian adults do not have a Will under their name and misunderstand the best time to visit a Wills lawyer in Toronto. Without a proper Will, your estate’s distribution could go against your best wishes.
Whether or not you have children or a spouse, visiting a lawyer in Toronto for your Will is the best way to create a concise and comprehensive plan. This ensures your wishes are adhered to and your beneficiaries taken care of.
“What are a Will lawyer’s fees in Toronto?”
“What do I put in my Will and leave out?”
“How can I find a trustworthy lawyer for Wills near me?”
Duensing Law is a professional Wills planning lawyer in Toronto. Our firm leverages sound legal knowledge and years of legal acuity to help you take smart preemptive decisions that protect you and your loved ones.
In this article, we walk you through the basics of Will preparation, and why a competent lawyer is so important to the process.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will in Toronto?
While it is an option to write a Will yourself or use an online template, these are generally lacking and any missing information or errors can have a negative impact in the long run, costing your beneficiaries time, money, and leading to a lot of frustration.
Working with a lawyer, you can rest easy in the confidence of having a clear concise Will, one that is accepted for probate by the Estate Office of the Ontario Superior Court. The lawyer also serves the added benefit of acting as a witness who does not benefit from your Will – something that is necessary for a Will to be legally recognized.
How Much Does a Lawyer Charge for a Will in Toronto?
It depends on the lawyer and the specificities of your Will, possibly ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Watch out for unnecessary charges though, “Will storage” isn’t needed and you can typically store your Will with the Estates Court Office for a one-time fee. Some lawyers might name themselves Executor and charge a percentage of the estate instead of an hourly rate which can be expensive.
We offer a fair pricing plan for all our clients. Duensing Law recognizes that everyone has different financial commitments and circumstances. You may book an appointment with us to discuss how we can help you further.
How Do I Make a Will Legal in Toronto?
Certain prerequisites should be kept in mind:
- The Will must be written and signed when you are of sound mind
- You must be at or over the age of majority (18 years in Ontario)
- The Will must be witnessed correctly to be legally valid
- If the Will is typed, it must be signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who also sign it
- The witnesses cannot be a beneficiary or your spouse
- Signatures must be at the end of the Will
Even if you adhere to the above, this does not guarantee that your Will won’t be contested. Any Will can be contested no matter how or when it was created. But an experienced Wills lawyer in Toronto will help you minimize the risk of a successful challenge.
What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
In Ontario, if you die without a Will or if it is incomplete or invalid, your estate’s distribution will depend on your family, marriage, and descent situation. Your spouse is likely to be the first beneficiary, followed by children, parents, siblings, and so on.
If you have a spouse and a single child, it is divided 50/50. With multiple children, the spouse receives one-third and the children equally split the remaining two-thirds. Without a spouse or children, the estate is passed on to parents. If you have no surviving parents, it will go to your siblings.
What Should I Not Put in a Will?
It is not necessary to put certain things in a Will; joint property, accounts or businesses, and other such things have no guarantee of being fulfilled as per your Will. Any joint accounts or property will usually go to the surviving partner. For a business partnership, it’s unlikely you can transfer your shares without the consent of your partner(s).
Any conditions in your Will such as “Jimmy will receive my watch once he graduates university” are not legal to include and thus not binding. Encouragements work much better: “For Jimmy, for when he graduates university”. However, nobody will be there to police this unless you invest in an Executor(s) fee.
Additionally, nothing can be left to your pet/s. Pets are seen as property within the law and thus cannot own property themselves. You can leave money to a friend or relative to take care of your pets.
Funeral arrangements are best left out of your Will as well as your funeral wishes are not binding on the executor. And since funerals are one of the first things to happen after a death, it’s unlikely your funeral wishes will be seen in time.
What is the Process of Writing a Will?
There are many options for making a Will, you can go the classic route and write it yourself, do it online, or take advantage of a lawyer’s services. Doing it yourself by hand or through a Will kit may be easy and cheap. However, these types of Wills are commonly filled with issues such as missing “what if” situations and may also be missing one’s assets.
Working with a lawyer, you can have a succinct Will and have the benefit of legal advice for any personal situation. For example, if your special needs child regularly receives government benefits and you want to avoid any inheritance impacting their benefits, a lawyer will advise you on the most concise way to go about this.
What is Better, a Will or a Trust?
The main difference between the two is that a Will only goes into effect after you die while a Trust can take effect as soon as it’s made.
A Will directs who will receive property upon your demise and appoints a representative to carry out your wishes while a Trust involves a Trustee who holds the property and the Beneficiary who may receive income from the trust.
It is also possible to set up Trusts in your Will. Such trusts will take effect when you pass away.
You may book an appointment with us to discuss which solution is best for you.
Trust Your Will Planning and Succession Needs to an Experienced Wills Lawyer in Toronto
Duensing Law structures affairs both during our clients’ lifetime and after their death in accordance with their wishes.
Our priority is to provide practical, sound counsel on how to create a solid succession plan. Duensing Law also assists in administering the estate as quickly and tactfully as possible so that nothing requires revisiting.
Contact us today at 416-601-4769 to get started on securing your assets and finances.