Estate Planning – Wills & Powers of Attorney
The lawyers at Fox Law work with the firm’s clients of all ages, family stages and financial situations to help plan for the future through the drafting of Wills & Powers of Attorney.
Why is a Will Important?
Having a valid Will helps to give you control and peace of mind. An up-to-date Will helps to ensure that your wishes regarding who receives your property or assets when you pass away are carried out in the manner you desire. Having a valid and current Will can also make it easier and more efficient for your friends and family to deal with your affairs after your death. In the event you pass away without a Will, Ontario legislation identifies how your assets will be distributed to your surviving family members.
How Can Fox Law Help?
When you contact Fox Law regarding having your Wills & Powers of Attorney drafted, we will send you a questionnaire that will assist us with the drafting of your documents and will help you to think about the different scenarios you will have to think about and the decisions you will have to make, in order to create a Will. The lawyers at Fox Law will then sit down with you to discuss your particular situation, and then draft a Will that best meets your needs and wishes.
In Ontario, an Estate Administration Tax is calculated based on the value of the assets in the deceased’s estate at the date of death. At your meeting, the lawyers at Fox Law will speak with you about planning for the Estate Administration Tax and will discuss various options or strategies that may be available to you, to minimize the amount of Estate Administration Tax payable by your estate on your passing.
What are Powers of Attorney?
There are two types of Powers of Attorney recognized in Ontario:
1. Power of Attorney for Property – Your Power of Attorney for Property is a document that appoints an individual(s) to act on your behalf to manage your financial affairs in the event you are unable or unavailable to do so for yourself. The person(s) you designate to act on your behalf is called your “Attorney for Property”.
The individual(s) you appoint to be your Attorney for Property is the person you want to have making decisions affecting your assets and property on your behalf, should you be in a position that you are unable to manage your financial affairs yourself. This person should be someone you trust to ensure that your property and finances will be properly managed in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.
2. Power of Attorney for Personal Care – Your Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a document that appoints an individual(s) to act on your behalf to make decisions about your health care and treatment in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself. The person(s) you designate to act on your behalf is called your “Attorney for Personal Care”.
The individual(s) you appoint to be your Attorney for Personal Care is the person you want to have making your care, treatment and health decisions for you if you are ever in a position where you are mentally or physically unable to make the decisions for yourself. This person should be someone you trust to ensure that you receive the care and type of treatment you want for yourself.
The individual(s) named in a Will who is responsible for administering an estate is called the Executor or Estate Trustee. While it is an honour to be named as someone’s Executor, it can also be a significant responsibility.
An example of the types of duties and/or responsibilities an Estate Trustee may undertake are:
- ascertaining who the beneficiaries are;
- locating and valuing all the assets of the estate;
- determining any debts and arranging for their payment;
- ascertaining tax liability for both the deceased and the estate (which includes filing the necessary returns and obtaining an income tax clearance certificate under the Income Tax Act);
- maintaining records of all estate transactions and preparing estate accounts for the review and approval of the beneficiaries; and
- payment of assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of the Will.
The lawyers at Fox Law can assist Estate Trustees in the administration of the estate for which they have been named Estate Trustee. This is done by helping the Estate Trustee to understand and navigate their duties and responsibilities, guiding them through the process from beginning to end, preparing the application if probate is required, assisting with the realization and transfer of assets, and in the preparation of the required accounts.