For most Canadians, financial planning is far from a well-defined process. While many have an idea of what they have and where they may want it to go after they pass away, these plans are often not articulated to those who need to be aware. Ontario families may find that the best way to avoid financial challenges, up to and including estate litigation, is to consider an estate as part of a longer-term process of financial planning overall.
Estate planning and its inevitable aftermath are among the lesser understood financial issues in Ontario and throughout Canada. Investments and insurance are much more widely discussed and understood, while retirement and estate plans are less considered in many cases. Considering how the two interact, and how many stakeholders may be involved in the outcome of these decisions, this can be a mistake.
The process of estate planning involves much more than simply drafting a will. Crucial conversations, particularly with a spouse, children, or any other beneficiary, should take place to solidify one's intentions. Estate planning can be an exercise that touches on many other aspects of financial planning, such as investments and life insurance, rather than being a stand-alone effort.
One thing that sets estate planning and administration apart from many other financial issues is the need to involve a lawyer. Even those who are holistic and communicative about their estate plans can leave families in conflict without a lawyer involved early on. Those who have been left to administer an estate that may be questionable should also seek legal help from a designated legal professional in Ontario.