Category Archives: Wills & Estates

Do I Need a Legal Will? | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

Do I Need a Legal Will?

Why a Legal Will is Important

There are many different aspects of the estate planning process from which you can benefit from consulting directly with an estate planning lawyer, including making sure you have a legal will in place.

Many individuals may be under the impression that they do not need a legal will, but this is a basic estate planning tool that can allow you to name what will happen to your assets if you were to suddenly pass away.

The basic purpose of a will is to allow you, the creator and you’re also referred to as the testator, to speak after death with regard to how your assets are distributed.

The instructions are in a written format so that others can completely understand your intentions when you are no longer around to articulate them.

After you pass away and leave your estate behind, your loved ones will be responsible for making decisions about what happens to your belongings.

If you leave these in a testamentary document such as a legal will, you can save those loved ones the frustration and time associated with legal hearings by clearly articulating your concerns.

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Legal Will in Place

In the event that you pass away without a legal will, your assets are distributed under the rules of the Succession Law Reform Act of Ontario.

These set out a hierarchy for the distribution of your individual assets based on your family’s circumstances at your death.

For example, if you are married but have no children, the estate would pass completely to your spouse.

If you are married with children, and your estate is valued less than $200,000, your estate will also pass to your spouse. If your estate is worth $200,000 and you have one child, the amount above $200,000 is split in half between your spouse and the child.

If you have more than one child and are married and your estate is worth more than $200,000 the estate is divided into equal shares for your spouse and your children.

If you have children but are not married, your estate is divided equally among your children, and if you have no children and are not married, your estate will be divided equally between your parents.

Planning ahead can help minimize the frustration for your loved ones.

Should You Probate a Will? | Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyers

How to Probate a Will

What You Should Know About How to Probate a Will 

Once you have taken the essential steps in order to plan your estate after consulting with a knowledgeable Ontario attorney, it is necessary for the courts to validate or prove your will. This is described in the term known as: probate a will.

The court will carry out this procedure of determining whether or not your will is valid, and created by the individual who has passed away.

The probate a will process additionally confirms the individual who is named as the executor in the will. The letters probate or the executor’s documents will be given by the court to the executor as validity of his or her authority and ability to manage the estate.

Your planning ahead and understanding of the process ultimately benefits not just you but also your beneficiaries.

When is Probate Triggered?

The beneficiaries, the type of the assets and the will itself determines when probate is needed.

Frequently, the will is sufficient in order to name an executor and all the authority necessary to settle the estate.

In the event that the administration of the estate could take a few years, the executor should obtain letters of probate as soon as possible. This names his or her official recognition for managing the testator’s estate.

The executor might even require this proof to recover funds associated with the testator or transferring particular assets in line with the deceased individual’s will.

Letters of probate may also be essential in the event that the executor believes that someone may contest that individual’s right to manage the estate.

How to Get the Letters Probate

The individual asking for letters probate is responsible for submitting an application to the clerk of the probate court.

This can occur in any judicial district in which the testator was living before passing away or a district where deceased individual owned property. There may be certain fees requested, paid to the probate court for the letters probate.

These are outlined in the regulations for the probate court act. If a lawyer submits the application for these papers, the estate is also responsible for paying the lawyer’s fee and this is outside of the probate fee.

In the event that an individual passes away without a valid will, the probate court has to appoint an individual to act as administrator of the estate.

The court will make this appointment when someone qualified to act in such a capacity submits an application. Typically, this is a family member or a close friend of the deceased.

The administrator plays a role similar to someone serving as a will executor, so it’s important to understand how these roles work during the probate a will process.

First of all, the administrator must collect any money the estate is due at the time of the individual’s death. Then, he or she uses these funds and money inside the estate to make income tax payments and other debt payments.

Once this process is complete, the administrator has to sell any assets within the estate and distribute them according to the Devolution of Estates Act.

If no one has been named as administrator and no person steps forward to play this role, then the court may take action and appoint someone to serve in this capacity.

The individual appointed will step forward and manage the estate administration as listed above.

Knowing what to expect in the probate a will process within your province is beneficial for approaching the estate planning process itself.

A lawyer can help you identify the different tools and strategies you might use to plan ahead and empower your loved ones to make informed decisions on your behalf.