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Don't make wealth transfers that contradict your will

At Hagel Lawfirm, we have seen a wide variety of scenarios in which surviving family members have been confused and hurt by their loved ones' estate planning.

One such scenario involves contradicting one's own will by making wealth transfers during one's lifetime.

In many cases, transferring wealth during your lifetime can make good sense in terms of asset protection and avoidance of unnecessary tax obligations. However, if your will states that your assets should be divided equally among your children upon your death, then transferring your home and your cottage to one child during your lifetime could lead to conflict.

To ensure that your will matches your current situation and accurately reflects your wishes, we encourage you to review the document with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Additionally, before making any major wealth transfers -- and particularly if you're considering the transfer of capital such as real estate or stocks -- it is a good idea to seek counsel from a lawyer with experience in financial planning and tax planning.

What you want to avoid is unnecessarily passing a tax liability on to your heirs or your executor, and you want to avoid sewing the seeds for conflict and heartache among family members.

For more on these matters, please see Hagel Lawfirm's overview estate planning, wills and trusts. We advise and represent individuals and families in Mississauga and throughout the GTA.

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