When people consider financial advice, their minds often go immediately to mortgages, investments and lines of credit. But what happens to all those assets and liabilities when an Ontario individual passes away? Keeping an updated will is one of the most often forgotten pieces of financial advice, yet doing so can prevent serious turmoil and even estate litigation within a family.
When an individual plans for the future of his or her estate, the intention is for the person to be able to make independent and well-informed decisions. Unfortunately, it is possible for people to be conned or manipulated into changing their will to the benefit of someone with ill intentions. In fact, undue influence is at the heart of many estate litigation cases in Ontario.
Planning for the future can be challenging for anyone, but business owners have particular considerations when preparing wills. Ontario business owners should be careful to include detailed information about the future of their business in estate plans if they hope for their business to survive the owner or owners. Plans should not only designate future management and ownership of the business, but also answer any questions that may arise about the transition and assets within the business. Here are some considerations for business owners looking to plan for their futures.
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.
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.
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.
Providing for families members after death is something that many Ontario residents work toward. They create estate plans they believe accomplish this goal -- at the time. The problem is that an estate plan may not always fit their families' circumstances. Certain events require a review of those plans in order to make sure they still apply and will not potentially give rise to litigation upon death.
Many Ontario residents wonder whether the arrangements they made for their property after their death will meet with contention and suspicion from surviving loved ones. This could happen if no one understands the intent behind the decisions made. A letter outlining this and other information could prove invaluable to them during the estate administration process since it can be provided to loved ones prior to death.
Statistics Canada says that the fastest growing age demographic in the country is those over the age of 80. Estimates indicate that by around the year 2036, 3.3 million Canadians will fit this demographic. This trend could significantly shift the focus of estate planning.
Blended families are fairly commonplace these days. Ontario residents who find love and marry for the second time often come into the relationship with their own assets and their own children. This makes planning vital in order to avoid estate litigation upon death.