When executors begin their work, the best thing they can have at their disposal is a solid will and documentation. Unfortunately, even those who take the time to put together estate plans can miss a few common but important details. These oversights can be a significant estate administration burden for Ontario executors, so it is important to keep an eye out for them both when preparing and executing plans.
Personal loans are one of the most common things people leave out of estate planning. For example, when a parent passes away and a child beneficiary still owes them money at the time of their passing, is the loan forgiven or does it come out of the amount the child receives? It is a good idea for a family to discuss these matters openly, especially if there are multiple children with different concepts of fairness.
Another frequently overlooked issue is the taxes on registered plans, such as a registered retirement savings plan. Some may think leaving RRSP funds to one child and leaving property to the other is fair on the surface, but the tax load from one type of investment may be more significant than expected. Distributing registered plans equally in the will can help people to avoid this issue.
There are many other things that can be overlooked, such as digital assets and shipping costs for assets. Picking the right executor and lawyer, as well as thorough pre-planning, can help people prevent these estate administration headaches. Ontario executors facing these challenges in interpreting a will should seek legal advice if they find themselves unclear on what the standard procedure is in these instances.