Continuing on last weeks Estate Planning 101 series, here is a briefly some issues you should consider in your estate plan.
Use a Pro
When drafting a will, it’s always advisable to use the services of a professional as opposed to the do-it-yourself approach. Unless you have a law background and knowledge of the interplay between the various provincial laws, that may result in some unintended and troublesome consequences.
Marital Property Rights
Most provinces have laws that deal with the right to property in a marriage. If your will does not address these rights appropriately, these rights may override the instructions in your will.
Claims of Dependents or Parents
If someone was financially dependent on you prior to your death, they may make a support claim from your estate despite the contents of your will. This can apply to dependent children and in some provinces to adult parents who have been living with you.
What Should I Include?
The most important thing in estate planning is to have a specific idea of what it is you want to achieve with the distribution of your estate. Be frank and candid with your self and your lawyer about who will receive what assets and any controls or limits you want placed on them. The estate lawyer will then draft you a will that fulfills your objectives.
Your spouse and children may have an entitlement to your assets after you pass away and may be in a position to make a claim on your estate, even if you intended to leave them out or made other arrangements for them. Careful planning can avoid problems in the future.