Wills & Estates

Do you need to Update or Create a Wills and Powers of Attorney? Choose our experienced Wills Lawyer.

I love this area of law! I find that when clients have made the decision to come to my office to prepare their wills or their Powers of Attorney, they are at a very important stage in their lives. They have bought a home, or have started a family, or are worried about their kids, or their business or simply their assets in general. In any event, they all have one thing in common: they have something to protect, that they wish to be placed in the hands of someone they trust rather than in those of the courts or the government.

There are new Reporting rules that have recently been enacted by the Government of Ontario, Ministry of Finance, which means that the preparation of a Will and the Administration of an Estate must be handled with a lot more care, and diligence. In my practice, I have prepared Wills for my clients with a view to this new change in the law by taking the time to meet with you and speak fully and candidly about your Estate and your property, and I don’t rely on sometimes seemingly intrusive fillable forms to prepare your Will. If you are hiring a lawyer, you deserve the personal communication and freedom to communicate your questions directly with your lawyer about your unique situation in life. Your Wills are too important to be prepared any other way.

If you are looking for a simple will, here are a few things to think about before we meet:

  • Make sure you have the full legal names of the person(s) you wish to name Estate Trustee- this is the person who will manage the Estate on your passing, and an alternative in case you need one.
  • Any particular Beneficiary- the person(s) who will inherit from your Estate.
  • Jot down all of your assets of value, such as the value of your home, your vehicles, your personal belongings – with the new requirements to report to the Ministry of Finance, having everything written down by you may save your Estate Trustee a lot of time. It will also allow us to give you a current calculation of the Estate Administration Fee (previously known as Probate)- though the values may change at the time of your death.

Your Powers of Attorney are just as important as your Will, as they determine who will have the right to speak for you and make decisions on your behalf while you are still alive.

What’s the difference between an Estate Trustee and a Power of Attorney?

Put simply, an Estate Trustee has no power to do anything until after you have died. The person named as your Power of Attorney however, is given their power to act on your behalf, and must do so in your best interest, in the event that you have been named incapable of making certain decisions yourself. For example, if you are in a coma, or if you are suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia and can no longer make decisions about yourself or your assets. There are very specific duties set out for a Power of Attorney and an Estate Trustee, which I would be happy to discuss with you when we meet.

Certificate of Estate Trustee & Payment of Probate/Estate Administration Tax

When your loved one has passed, the duties and responsibilities of the Estate Trustee can be complicated and emotionally draining.  As an experienced Estate lawyer I prepare the application for the Certificate of Estate Trustee, if needed, and will also provide guidance with respect to your legal obligations to the Estate and to the Beneficiaries, and to the Government of Ontario, when you are ready to administer the estate.  This is an area of law where experience matters.  Filing a successful Application can be tricky, hire an estate lawyer whom will take time to meet with you, review the estate, prepare your file and keep you informed every step of the way when the Application makes its way to court.

Don’t forget, for every application filed after January 1, 2015, once you have received your Certificate of Estate Trustee (with or without a will), the new reporting requirements to the Ministry of Finance will require that you file an Estate Information Return Form ( please see the Guide as per the Ministry of Finance website: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/tax/eat/ )

Call my office if you have questions about your estate or the estate of a loved one.