Estate Planning

Estate planning involves the transfer of someone's assets (e.g. property, money) when they die, as well as a variety of other personal matters. Wills, estates, trusts and power of attorneys are all common tools used in estate planning.

An estate is the property that a person owns or has a legal interest in. The term is often used to describe the assets and liabilities left by a person after death.

Your will is a written document that sets out the person's wishes about how his or her estate should be taken care of and distributed after death. It takes effect when the person dies and has specific requirements in order to be valid.

Your Power of Attorney for Personal Care empowers one or more trusted persons to make medical decisions on your behalf in critical circumstances, where you may be unable to provide informed medical consent on your own behalf.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning means having a plan for passing on everything you own either through your will or by some other means. There are some things you may want to distribute before you die, and others that you may want to deal with separately from the rest of your estate, such as any business interests. For some of these things, you will need to make legal documents in addition to your will.

A lawyer or other estate planning professional can give you advice and help you choose how to deal with your estate.
We provide holistic legal advice, taking into consideration the tax, investments and insurance components of your estate.

Why make a Will?

Your will is the easiest and most effective way to tell others how you want your property and possessions–your estate– to be distributed. Even if you don't have much money or property, it's still a good idea to have a Will so you can name an executor and make it clear who you want making decisions after you die.

When making your Will it is important to consider:

  • Who will act as your Estate Executor and Alternate Executor?
  • How do you wish the assets of your estate to be distributed?
  • Are there important items you wish to include and bequeath to anyone in particular?
  • Are there assets or special needs beneficiaries who require specific planning or management?
  • Who will be named the guardian(s) of your minor children?
  • At what age will the minor beneficiaries receive the entitlements under your Will?
  • Do you wish to leave any instructions to the guardian(s) of your minor children?

Who should I name as my executor?

Your executor (also called your trustee or personal representative is the person you name in your will to be in charge of your property and possessions after your death. Your executor carries out the instructions you have written in your will. Being an executor can take time and involve a lot of paperwork. If there is no one close to you who can act as your executor, you might be able to appoint a professional such as a trust company, accountant, lawyer, or the provincial or territorial Public Trustee. If you are thinking about doing this, make sure that the person or organization is willing to take on the job before you name them in your will.

Your Estate Planning Lawyer

A valid, carefully drafted Will helps secure your family’s financial future by protecting your assets from unnecessary taxation, and limits potential probate fees payable by your Estate. Most importantly, your Last Will and Testament ensures that your Estate will be divided among those you have specifically chosen.

We ask relevant questions to determine what you want out of your estate, then design a plan to safeguard your assets and transfer them tax-efficiently to beneficiaries.

The estate planning vehicles used are wills, power of attorneys for property, powers of attorneys of personal care and occasionally, trusts. These are among the most important documents a person makes in their lifetime, as they dictate what happens with your assets when you die.
A well executed estate plan takes into consideration tax, probate and insurance, as well as family dynamics. We help arrange your financial affairs to avoid ambiguity, unnecessary taxes, and litigation.

Estate planning is complicated for those with property in multiple jurisdictions. We have experience dealing with dual domiciles and assets abroad, particularly in both Israel and Canada.

Disability Estate Planning

We help families with a member who has a disability structure their finances to allow individual with a disability to receive income from an inheritance and continue to receive ODSP benefits through the formation of Disability Expense and Henson Trusts. We have experience with disability related estate planning issues, as well as Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) applications and appeals.

Do I need legal advice?

You do not need to get legal advice, but because a Will and other estate planning documents are legal documents, it is a good idea to have your will prepared by a lawyer. Wills that are drafted or executed improperly may leave your last wishes unclear or undeterminable, or leave your will open to contentious litigation.

The lawyers at Charney Legal can help you prepare your Last Will and Power of Attorney documents so that they will be valid under the laws of Ontario, Canada.

Contact Charney Legal to discuss your case and obtain legal advice relevant to you.

The general information on this page is not applicable to any specific case and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice and may not be relied on as such. Readers are expressly advised to consult with a qualified lawyer for advice regarding their specific circumstances and entitlements under Ontario law.