Jun 24, 2022
Everything You Need to Know About a Last Will and Testament in Ontario
A legally binding will is the foundation of any good estate plan. Here’s why creating a will doesn’t need to be an intimidating experience.
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Naming someone to be an executor of your estate will put your mind at ease and save your loved ones any legal trouble later. However, even with modest assets, wrapping up an estate is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of planning and attention to detail. Simply put, disorganized estate planning means a lot of work for your loved ones and your executor in particular.
What is the best way to help your chosen estate executor while you are still alive? Here are a few tips to get you started:
The best way to set your executor up for success is to routinely update your will, any trusts, and named beneficiaries to reflect realities on the ground and your wishes. If you created a living trust, ensure you officially transfer all assets such as real estate and bank accounts to the trust.
Keep your executor up to date on any changes you make. Any life changes or changes in your wishes should be communicated to your executor as well. The more you keep them in the loop, the less stress they’ll have down the line.
If you have a spouse or dependents, one way to ensure your assets flow immediately to them is by setting all property and accounts as joint. Similarly, ensure properties and titles are in both names to reduce the size of the estate and the work of the executor. Additionally, check to ensure you name the correct beneficiary for accounts that demand a specification such as pensions, retirement accounts, and insurance policies.
It is not uncommon for an executor to spend countless hours searching for crucial pieces of documents needed to carry out your wishes. You should put important documents where the executor can find them with ease. Examine your system and consider putting together a binder that has all the items your executor is likely to need, including bank statements, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, property deeds, insurance policies, deeds to real estate, and many more.
In the current digital world we live in, it is crucial to provide your executor with important account documents for your online presence, such as Facebook, PayPal, eBay, Twitter, to ease the deactivation process. Although the executor can deactivate the accounts by presenting your death certificate to the cites, a sealed online accounts document containing passwords simplifies their work.
After your death, there are bills to pay and final expenses and fees to cover, such as funeral expenses and eventual appraisers' and lawyers' fees. These expenses cannot wait for the reading and execution of your will. Make sure you leave some cash available which can be accessed easily by your executor.
It would help if you also left your plans or clear wishes about your cremation or burial arrangements. Expressing your preferences in writing makes things a lot easier for your executor and loved ones. A funeral is always a highly emotional affair, and leaving clear instructions helps avoid typical family disagreements.
Undoubtedly, death doesn't discriminate by age or any other factor. Even if you have modest assets, you can benefit from the ideal end-of-life planning. A little forethought now about empowering your executor to carry out your wishes with precision can make their job easier.
At Clear Estate, our goal is to help you get through this process as painlessly and efficiently as possible. Contact us today to get started. We are here for you.