Estates

Estate planning encompasses many different areas and can become complicated very quickly. What we can do is step back, look at the big picture, and suggest changes to help make the process simpler. If your needs exceed our expertise, we can refer you to other professionals to assist with designing the best possible plan.
Our Estate Services
  • Estate Review
  • Executor Services
  • Probate

Estate Reviews

Estate Review is an important process to undertake from time to time, especially as we age. It involves reviewing your existing documents, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Insurance, and beneficial appointments in your RRSP, RRIF, and TFSA. It also includes a review of your financial assets, Titles to your properties, inheritance plans, trust agreements, and your personal banking needs. We can discuss topics, such as exploring “Joint Tenancy” and whether your estate will need to be probated. From there, we can set out a plan and make any changes required.
Some Common Estate Issues
  • Do you have an up-to-date Will?
  • What is the effect of the Probate process on your estate?
  • What is the Tax position of your estate?
  • Are your bank accounts joint? If so, with whom?
  • Is your executor up to the job?
  • Have you named beneficiaries on your RRIFs, RRSPs, or TFSA?

Executor Services

Your Executor (personal representative)
You must appoint an executor in your Will to look after your affairs when you die. Make sure that you have the right person for the job. Also, it is important when naming an executor that you choose a secondary one in case your first choice is unable to perform the necessary duties. We can help executors by explaining the process and identifing what needs to happen and when.
Responsibilities of the Executor
  • Making funeral arrangements
  • locating the Will
  • applying for death certificates
  • paying remaining debts
  • selling any assets
  • distributing assets to beneficiaries
Traits for a good Executor
  • Good Health
  • Patience
  • Diplomatic skills
  • Ability to deal with bureaucracy and paperwork
Want more information about settling an estate? Check out Ten Steps to Settling an Estate
Acting as an Executor (When asked by someone else)
So, you have been appointed someone’s Executor. Yes, it is an honour, but it can also feel like a burden. Before saying yes or “acting as an executor”, take a dive into the material available to get an understanding of what this might mean to you.

We can talk through the many activities required, the possible issues involved, and your legal responsibilities in this role. For your convenience, Download the Executor Tips Checklist
Probate
It is important to understand what “Probate” is, what the costs of Probate are and of course how long Probate will take. Probate is the legal process of “reading the Will”. Probate is a court order that tells the world the Will is legal and valid, and that the person named as the executor can now deal freely with all the estate issues and assets. They can now deal with banks and other financial institutions, as well as dealing with pension services and any government agencies required. For example, they can now deal with filing tax reviews and dealing with the Canadian Revenue Service (CRA).

The first thing to find out is if Probate is required at all. This depends on the assets within the estate and the values of those assets.

Review the process. Our office can explain the process, the costs, the steps, and the time frame. To learn more about probate, check out Probating the Will
Want our help with estate planning?
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