Wills, probate, joint property, estate taxes, selecting estate trustees/attorneys for property, personal care and other issues may appear somewhat intimidating at first.
Fortunately, with a little guidance and preparation, dealing with such matters does not have to be so overwhelming.
Planning ahead and revising your plan often will help avoid unnecessary grief and confusion in the end. ‘Estate Planning’ includes all of the following issues and documents.
Administration Of A Will
A Will is an instrument by which a person (the “testator”) makes a disposition of his/her property, to be performed or
take effect after his or her death.
A well-drafted Will may provide for the welfare of the testator’s family, distribute the testator’s assets in accordance with his/her wishes and secure the efficient management of the testator’s property.
Handwritten Wills (“holographic Wills”) can be made by a testator without the services of a lawyer, but problems can arise if not done properly and/or in accordance with applicable legislation.
A properly drafted Will can be a simple, inexpensive way to address many estate-related matters and can make matters run much smoother upon death.
While there are many benefits to having a Will in place, there are some things that may not be accomplished in a Will. It is important to keep in mind that some items may not flow through your estate and thus may not be distributed in accordance with your Will.
During the estate planning process, it is important to speak with a lawyer experienced in such matters and knowledgeable of your unique situation.
A well-designed estate can help minimize probate costs, estate taxes and can alert you to any potential statutory claims, that may impact your ability to deal with your assets as intended.
A lawyer can discuss any potential claims that a “dependant” may have under Law, and/or with respect to any potential claims or entitlements. An awareness of such responsibilities and rights can help prevent unintended consequences or
surprises upon death.
In addition to certain statutory claims, there are other legal limitations that must be considered when drafting a Will.
Documents such as a marriage or cohabitation agreement, a separation agreement, or a shareholder’s agreement (with buy/sell provisions, or option agreements) may also affect your Will plan, and thus it is important that such information be shared with your representative(s) when designing an estate plan.