In Canada, many of the benefits that are afforded to legally married spouses are also afforded to common law spouses under pieces of legislation such as the Pensions Benefits Act, the Canada Pension Plan, the Insurance Act and the Income Tax Act.
Creating a will is an essential part of any comprehensive estate plan, but too often disputes over estate assets -- along with the resulting heartache among family members -- are due to mistakes in the will or failure to update it when major life events occur.
You can try to ignore the topic, but doing so could lead to confusion and conflict among family members, as well as losses to your estate. According to a recent poll by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, more than 50 per cent of Canadians expect to leave behind assets upon death, but 47 per cent have never actually communicated their estate plans to their heirs.
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.