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Tips and tricks for effective estate planning

Whether one has a lot or a little, it only makes sense to consider what is going to happen to his or her assets when he or she passes away. While there is no legal requirement to make a will or do any kind of estate planning whatsoever, leaving no plan for heirs to follow can create chaos and disappointment during a time of need. Rather than forcing family and loved ones to scramble, it is always better to put a plan place to provide comfort at a dark hour. Here are some tips for men and women in Ontario looking to put their affairs in order.

Since one is not around to tend to these matters, it follows that it will be necessary to appoint people to key positions, such as an estate trustee or guardian. It is important to choose someone who is not only trustworthy, but who is also likely to be able to young enough and healthy enough to carry out the necessary tasks when the time comes. Many people appoint back ups for each position, in case the original appointee cannot see the job through to completion.

A trust is a popular way of holding assets for a particular individual, and depending on the nature of the trust, it could pay out while the settlor (the person who created the trust and transferred the money to the trust) is still alive, or at a specified time or times after the settlor passes away. One could even opt to enter into co-ownership of certain assets to smooth the transition. Homes and real property are common candidates for joint ownership. However, caution has to be exerciesed and all of the pros and cons carefully reviewed before changing the title to joint ownership.

Even a simple estate is worthy of effective estate planning. For more complicated estates, especially ones that include out-of-jurisdiction assets or businesses, it is especially important to plan carefully to avoid leaving taxation and probate disasters to one's family. An experienced lawyer who works with Ontario estate law daily can help create a unique solution for any man or woman's estate planning needs.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "A simple guide to estate planning", Adrian Mastracci, May 29, 2017

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