Everyone should have a will. If you don’t have one:
- The distribution of your estate will be determined by the Wills, Estates and Succession Act. If you are married with children and the value of your estate exceeds $300,000, the excess value will be split among your spouse and your descendants. While a “spousal rollover” would apply to the portion to go to your spouse, you would be deemed to dispose of the balance at death, and that amount would be taxed.
- If you have minor children, their share of your estate is paid to the Public Guardian until they turn 19. Requests can be made for funds prior to the child turning 19 but the payment is at the discretion of the Public Guardian. The Public Guardian will deduct the cost of administering these trust funds from your children’s inheritance.
- Guardianship of your minor children will be determined by government authorities if your spouse did not have legal custody of the children at the time of your death or has died before you.
- If you do not specify when your children will receive their part of your estate, they will become entitled upon reaching the age of majority.
- If funds are inherited by a disabled beneficiary, the provincial government may discontinue payment of any social assistance. If the funds are instead distributed to a testamentary trust, the beneficiary should be entitled to keep receiving social assistance.
- Your children could be disinherited. This can especially be a concern for blended families.
- The administrator of your estate may not be the person who you would want to do the job.
- Your assets may not be given to your family members until one year following your death.
- No assets can be diverted to charities or friends.
- All assets may be converted to cash (i.e. family heirlooms may be sold and the proceeds distributed rather than passing on to your family).
- The administrator of your estate may be required to post a bond to protect the assets of your estate which is an added cost to the estate.
We would be pleased to help you develop your estate plan. Our rates are very competitive. Contact us for an estate planning questionnaire to get the process started.