Every adult should have a will. But there may be instances in Ontario where having multiple wills may be even more prudent, especially when it comes to lowering estate administration taxes as they're now known. Ontario is actually the only province to allow dual wills to assist with probate fees, which are among the highest in the country. Tax on the first $50,000 in assets of an estate is 0.5 per cent, while any amount over that gets slapped with a 1.5 per cent probate tax.
Many common law partners believe the laws are the same for them as they are for traditionally married couples. That is not always so in most provinces, Ontario included. So, when common law partners are having wills drafted, they should make specific mention of their common law spouses in the documents.
No one likes to thing about his or her own demise, but that day is coming for everyone. With that in mind, some consideration should be given to what happens to assets upon an individual's death. Yet, about half the adult population in Canada die intestate – or without wills. If that should happen, family members would have the burden and emotional stress of trying to decipher who gets what – or worse yet, that job could fall to the government.
Writing a will is not as easy as scribbling down a few words and paper and rifling it into a drawer somewhere. Wills and estates law is often complex and Ontario residents writing a will can't just insert conditions on a whim and expect them to be legally binding. A testator (the maker of the will) must be abundantly clear when leaving gifts in his or her will.
Most estates end up going through the probate process. Ontario residents' wills need to have a legal stamp of approval in the courts. This probate process also formally appoints the estate's executor.
Any man or woman who plans for the future of his or her family after they are gone clearly cares about the people in their life. Wills, in particular, are a great way to ensure the distribution of estates and the enrichment of descendants. However, failing to keep one's will up to date could have unintended and regrettable consequences for a person's loved ones.
When a family member or a loved one passes away, it is a sad time for everyone connected to that individual. Sometimes, there may be solace found when the executor administers the will; a kindly bequest may be a welcome reminder of the relationship there once was. Sometimes, however, the bequest is disappointing, or even non-existent. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible for a disappointed heir or other party to contest the will. For anyone considering such actions, it may be helpful to have a brief look at the valid reasons for contesting wills in Ontario.
It takes a lot of careful planning to see to the allocation of even a modest estate in Ontario. Wills are the primary tools of estate planning, and they make plain the testators final wishes. However, should the family of the deceased find they were left out of the plans, they may choose to take the issue to court. A large estate is now under attack from several disgruntled descendants claiming an unjust denial of their inheritance.
The passage of time almost always brings changes to people's lives. As a result, the plans made in the past may no longer reflect the present reality. In turn, this means future needs may not be met. When it comes to wills, it is important to keep them updated to ensure they are properly executed.
A simple fact of the 21st century is that computer technology touches all our lives. Even people who would consider themselves to be non-techies probably leave larger digital footprints than they realize. For that reason, it is becoming increasingly important for digital assets to be included in wills and estate planning in Ontario.