When planning for the distribution of assets in the future, it is common for individuals to aim for a "fair" and equitable arrangement. For some Ontario families, this simply means liquidating assets and splitting the proceeds among surviving children. For others, the choice is not so simple. Grandchildren, dependency, relationships and difficult assets like real estate and businesses can make it difficult to create an estate plan that is considered "fair" and reasonable to all in the family. Here are a few of the most important considerations.
People with special needs and their caretakers have many unique challenges. One that is often overlooked is the prospect of planning for a person's financial future, including formulating an estate plan. This is important for those who have disabled loved ones with limited capacity, especially if the primary caregivers may pass away first as is often the case for parents of special needs children in Ontario.
It is not uncommon for Ontario adults to consider drafting their own will at home. A do-it-yourself will can seem attractive to those who have a good handle on their assets and descendants. The problem is that wills created at home can be much more easily misunderstood and contested, ultimately leading to estate litigation. Here are some risk factors people should consider before trying to write up this important document on their own.
Ontario residents who have a trust may already know that they need to fund it. Without addressing this important step, the trust may not be worth the paper it is written on when the time comes. One of the reasons many people use trusts is to help simplify the estate administration process, but that will not happen if they do not contain any assets.