If someone dies without a will in Canada, his or her estate will be divided by the provincial government through a process known as probate. What this can mean is that a person's assets will not go to the beneficiary the individual may have desired, but will be distributed according to a formula. The best way to avoid this and ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive the assets is through estate planning and the drafting of a will.
When an individual in Ontario passes on, that person's estate may be require to pay certain taxes. At the time of death, the executor of an estate is required to file a terminal tax return on that person's behalf. Any capital property that is owned by an individual will be considered sold just before the person's death. Therefore, there may be capital gains or capital losses that affect how much tax an estate owes.
Financial advisers say it is important for Ontario couples to discuss their finances and be prepared for the death of a spouse. Otherwise, the loss of a spouse can put an enormous financial strain on the survivor. Reports indicate that many Canadians do not have wills. Excuses often heard include not being able to decide on an executor or a specific guardian because a person is afraid they will change their mind.
Ontario residents may be interested in an explanation of the tax implications for different types of inherited assets. Either the estate of the owner of the assets or the beneficiary may face taxes depending on the type of inheritance and the instructions to the executor. In some cases, a decedent's taxes will be paid by the estate, provided that the executor of the estate was directed to do so. The beneficiary would then inherit these funds as taxpaid money, and no tax would be owed.
While experts recommend that everyone undertake thorough estate planning, it is especially important for Ontario residents with children, substantial assets or a business. Proper estate planning ensures not only that someone's wishes will be carried out upon their death, but it also makes life easier for the executor and their heirs.
Residents of the greater Toronto area may be interested in some information regarding the three types of documents that every estate plan should contain. These documents help to ease the burden on the executor and dictate what will happen to a person's assets after his or her death.
Ontario residents who have taken steps to plan the execution of their estates after they pass away may need to consider reviewing and revising the relevant documents occasionally. Estate plans may need revision every few years as circumstances change.
Ontario couples who delay planning for their death may be running many risks. Estate planning can help outline how a person wishes his or her funeral and burial to be conducted. It can also help individuals to provide details about the distribution of their assets so that the courts do not dictate these details.
The loss of a spouse is difficult but such loss can be even more devastating as the survivors attempt to wade through piles of documents they might not understand. In order to prevent it, a family should work on estate planning together. Even if one of the spouses leads in handling the financial matters for the whole family, the other spouse should have an understanding of everything involved and know what they both want. If third parties, such as adult children or an estate trustee, are also included, they should be involved the entire planning process including participating in meetings with accountants and lawyers.
Ontario residents who make charitable donations may receive benefits beyond the emotional rewards of helping others. They may also pay less in taxes and see estate planning advantages as a result of their altruistic actions.