Wills, Estates & Power of Attorney
Our law office provides professional expertise and advice regarding life and end-of-life issues such as the preparation of Last Wills and Testaments, Trusts, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney.
What is a Will?
A Will is a document in which you explain what you want done with the assets that you own solely in your own name when you die. These assets typically consist of real estate, money, investments, and personal or household belongings that you own.
A Will doesn’t deal with certain assets
A Will generally doesn’t cover assets that you own jointly with another person, for example, such as a joint bank account or a house owned in joint tenancy. Also, a Will may not apply to assets like life insurance or RRSPs, where you have already designated a beneficiary.
In a will, you name a person to be the Executor
The executor gathers up the estate, pays your debts and divides what remains of your estate among the “beneficiaries” the people named in your will to receive a share of your estate. Choose an executor you trust and who will likely still be alive when you die. He or she may be a trusted family member or friend. If you like, you can appoint more than one executor who can act together as co-executors. You should also appoint an alternate executor if the first executor isn’t able to act.
If you have minor children, appoint a Guardian in your Will
The first type is a guardian to look after your children if they are younger than 18 when you die. This will avoid confusion in your extended family as to who should care for your children if both you and the other parent die before your children become adults. Make sure your appointed guardian agrees to be the guardian. It’s especially important to name a guardian if you’re a single parent – otherwise the court might appoint someone you would not want.
What happens if you don’t make a Will?
Then your estate will be divided in a certain way according to Ontario Law (Succession Law Reform Act), and this division may not be what you would want.
Also make sure to review your will after any change in your marital status
If you marry, your Will is automatically revoked unless the Will says that it was made in contemplation of your new marriage. If you divorce, the portions of your Will that involve your ex-spouse may no longer be valid.
Where should you keep your Will and Powers of Attorney?
You should store your original Will in a safety deposit box at your bank so that you have a permanent, safe and fireproof location. Your original Will, not a copy, is what your executor will need to present to the Probate Office in future. It’s recommended that you keep other important documents in your safety deposit box too, so your executor has what he or she requires when the time comes.