Periodically, the laws of the land come under review to ascertain whether they still meet the needs of the population. This includes many areas, including criminal law, family law and estate law. The Law Commission of Ontario has recently issued a report detailing recommended changes to systems in place for substitute decision-making that could have an impact on estate planning.
Many people are surprised by the complexity of their estates when they get older. Assets accumulate over time, and we don't really think about many of them that much. Every asset is important, however, when it comes time to do some estate planning. A valuable asset that many men and women in Ontario need to think about is their RRSP. How one chooses to distribute it after his or her death could have major implications for that person's heirs.
As cliché as it may sound, it is important for a person to have his or her affairs in order. Estate planning is best done as early as possible, and updated periodically, in order to have everything squared away before it is too late. A key, but too often overlooked, aspect of estate planning is granting power of attorney, so here are a few words about this vital subject.
Most people hate thinking about growing old, and by the time they reach a place of acceptance, time may be running out for taking care of important matters. Estate planning isn't something many young or even middle-age people consider, but putting affairs in order while one is still mentally agile can save a lot of difficulty down the road. Dementia, in particular, is an alarming condition that affects many men and women in Ontario and may impede the ability to make good choices.
Some people are fortunate enough to have acquired assets during their lives of such value that they are deemed worthy of being preserved for future generations of their family. Guaranteeing the survival of a key asset is an important part of estate planning. And while a will is the most common way to bequeath an asset in Ontario, a trust can sometimes be a better choice, as was the case with a recent transfer in another jurisdiction.
A recent entry in this blog introduced the topic of trusts. A trust can be an extremely useful part of estate planning, whether set up as a testamentary trust, which pays out after the death of the creator, or as a living trust, whereby the asset is passed along immediately. Either way, any Ontario resident, whether he or she is wealthy, or of more modest means, may find value in creating one or more trusts for one of the following reasons.
Watching one's parents grow older can be a difficult process. It is not easy to see someone so long viewed as a source of support and caring endure the rigors of aging, especially if that person begins to deteriorate mentally. Unfortunately, many children in Ontario live to see their parents gradually lose the ability to make sound financial decisions. For that reason, it may be a good idea for children to introduce the topic of estate planning sooner rather than later.
Do you avoid any thoughts about your own mortality? If you do, you are not alone. Few people in the greater Ontario area want to consider death or incapacitation. However, neglecting to attend to estate planning can make life tough for your loved ones if you should die or lose the ability to make your own medical or financial decisions. Spending a bit of time on drafting an estate plan, and updating it as needed, can avoid having a stranger make those decisions on your behalf.
Any man or woman living in Ontario who has accumulated even a modest estate should be thinking about what will happen to his or her assets after they have passed on. Wills are the most commonly used documents for this process. Less often considered are trusts, but sometimes trusts may be the best way to distribute certain kinds of assets. They are definitely worth looking at as part of any estate planning.
When most of us think of family, we think of loving, trusted and reliable people -- the people we know will always have our best interests and those of our other family members at heart.