A properly drafted Last Will is essential for a good estate plan. Over the years, we have developed an expertise in assisting clients prepare a sound and effective estate plan. For the process to be effective, advice is not limited to legal input. A knowledgeable financial planner, insurance agent and accountant are as important as a good lawyer and careful drafting. The approach is multi-disciplined and an informed client is the best start to a good estate plan. Original Wills that we prepare are stored in fire-proof cabinets and copies are stored electronically off-site.
Our firm has experience in assisting Estate Trustees with the administration of Estates, whether complex or simple. Sometimes the duties of being an Estate Trustee (Executor) can be overwhelming and when guidance and direction is required we can provide it. Whether there is a total or partial delegation of the responsibilities, we can assist the executor in discharging the onerous duties that follow with the position. Estates can be complex to administer and there are numerous taxation issues that need to be addressed in a timely manner and we have experience in dealing with these matters. Over the years, we have passed numerous estate accounts before the Ontario courts and have assisted many clients with the administration of the estates at the appropriate time. Maintaining estate records as required by the courts involve skill and we can assist the trustee to the extent required by the client. We have a good working relationship with accountants who have expertise in the area of estate administration and we can help the trustee coordinate an effective administration.
The laws related to powers of attorney have changed significantly in the last few years and a review of this aspect of your estate is important in order to minimize governmental interference in the affairs of your family and those you wish to provide for. Many people believe their families will be able to step in if something happens and they are unable to make decisions for themselves. This isn't always true. You need to name someone to make financial decisions for you, such as paying your bills, with a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property. For personal care and health decisions such as where you will live, what you eat or what medical care you will receive if you get sick or injured, you can name someone in a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. If you do not put in place a power of attorney, the government may have to appoint someone to make certain decisions for you. It's better if you choose someone you trust and who knows your wishes. So, in addition to your Last Will and Testament, it is important to have a Personal Care Power of Attorney and/or a Continuing Power of Attorney in place.