Everyone needs a will regardless of whether they are legally married, have a common law marriage, are single, or have children. A will dictates your wishes and intentions upon your passing and ensures they are carried out as intended. At Weltman Bernstein, our will and estate lawyers in Toronto never use a standard form. A properly prepared will by a qualified wills and estates lawyer in Toronto is vital to guarantee it is customized to fit with your needs and requirements.
To start the process, an initial meeting with a wills and estates law lawyer is necessary. During this consultation a wide range of topics are discussed, including your assets, intentions for minor children, distribution of assets and property, and executors of your will. After preparing a draft of the will, your Toronto wills & estates lawyer meets with you to review the document and confirm that everything is in order. Once you are satisfied with the will, it is signed and notarized to make it a legally binding document.
Why You Need a Will Prepared by Will and Estate Lawyers Toronto
If you pass away without a will, you have no control over the division of assets or guardianship of minor children. The laws within your province of residence dictate how your assets are divided and who is appointed guardian of your minor children. For married couples, who are separated, not having a will could result in your spouse inheriting the entire estate upon your death. For common law couples, not having a will does not guarantee the surviving spouse will inherit the estate. Further, in certain situations, you have no say in who is responsible for making funeral arrangements and paying your debts.
Preparing Your Will: On Your Own Compared to Wills & Estates Lawyer Toronto
In Canada and Ontario, there are over forty different pieces of legislation which deal with property rights upon death, wills, questions regarding wills, validity of wills, and countless references, pages, and sections of legal information. If you prepare your will by yourself, there is a high risk the will can be invalidated upon your passing. You might use the wrong terminology, leave out important details, or write the will in a confusing manner. While these mistakes may seem trivial at the time, it could easily be the reason why your will won’t be valid. Since you are no longer around to fully express your wishes and explain what you really meant to say in your will, having a will professionally completed by a wills & estates lawyer in Toronto guarantees your last wishes are clearly defined and set out properly in a valid and legal will.
Our wills and estates lawyers in Toronto provide you with a detailed wills planning checklist during your initial consultation. The checklist is design to help assist you in making the right decisions during the preparation of your will. In addition to supplying this checklist, your Toronto wills and estates lawyer reviews, in simple language, various legal aspects you need to consider during the preparation of your will, including:
- The Family Law Act
- The Succession Law Reform Act
- The Estates Administration Tax Act
- The Land Titles Act
- The Trustee Act
Each of these Acts, and others reviewed, set forth specific provisions in regards to financial support of your dependents, estate taxation, rights of survivorship for real estate, assigning a guardian for minor children, joint property ownership, and how your assets are to be distributed between current and formal spouses, and more.
Review Your Will with a Wills & Estates Lawyer in Toronto
If you already have a will in effect, it is worthwhile to review it on a regular basis with a qualified and experienced Toronto wills & estates lawyer. Some key questions to consider during the review process to determine whether you need to update your will are:
- When was the last review on your will conducted?
- Did you prepare the will yourself or was it professional prepared?
- When was the will prepared and is it properly signed and notarized?
- Is everyone mentioned in the will still alive?
- Are you still satisfied with your choice of executors and beneficiaries?
- Have there been any major changes to your life, such as getting married, separating from your spouse, the birth of children, or getting legally divorced?
- Have your property and assets changed since your will was last reviewed?
Certain life changes could invalidate your will, like when you get married, or keep it in effect, even though your wishes have changed, such as you separating or divorcing from your spouse. This is why it is essential to meet with a wills and estates lawyer Toronto and protect your intentions and last wishes.