Estate planning is essential but often overlooked. Having a will drafted by a professional is important at every age because it allows you to distribute assets as you wish. It also serves as the cornerstone of your overall estate plan that includes choosing an executor and power of attorney documents for health care and property.
Our population is now the oldest it ever has been, with more people currently aged 65 and older than there are children under the age of 15. As with any significant demographic shift, this trend has significant implications for society at large, impacting health care, finance policy, infrastructure, family relationships, and legal issues.
A primary consideration in the estate planning process should be the safe keeping of original planning documents (such as a will or a power of attorney). In Ontario, in order to obtain a grant of probate, the named estate trustee typically needs to provide the court with the original will, pursuant to the Estates Act.
The word probate, while still very frequently used by lawyers, may confuse people who do not have a legal background. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the word probate is an old-fashioned term that can refer either to a legal process or to a particular kind of court order.
Amendments to the Income Tax Act have been made that incentivize planned charitable giving. Prior to 2016, gifts to registered charitable organizations made by will received tax credits that could only be used in the year of the testator's death or carried back to the preceding year.
Occasionally, criminal law and estate law intersect. That intersection was particularly shocking in the high-profile cases of Helmuth Buxbaum and Peter Demeter. Both were convicted of arranging the murder of their wives and both tried to collect on life insurance policies in their respective wife's name.
It has been estimated that $750 billion will be inherited in the next decade by the Baby Boomer Generation. Within those
It has been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This statement rings true in the context of estate planning. A disorganized estate plan is ripe for expensive litigation that will deplete the assets of the estate. A Last Will and Testament is usually the cornerstone of an estate plan but can be disputed by disappointed beneficiaries.
Will challenges can involve a great deal of time and expense, many times to the detriment of the estate. There are multiple grounds upon which a will challenge may be based; however, the two most commonly pleaded are lack of testamentary capacity and allegations that the testator was subject to undue influence.
As more Canadians are choosing to spend greater time abroad, it has become increasingly common for estates to include foreign-based assets upon death. From an estate law perspective, foreign-based assets can give rise to estate administration issues that are best addressed as part of an estate plan created in consultation with professional advisors.