Whitby Wills Lawyers

The Will lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates have been preparing Wills for more than 25 years. We have assisted clients with their multi-million dollar estates, and their more modest financial portfolios. The most important part of preparing a Last Will & Testament for a client is ensuring that when they die, their estate passes according to their wishes, and not how someone else thought things should pass. We invest a significant period of time discussing wishes with our clients to ensure that the language of every Will can stand the scrutiny of the Estate Court.

Additionally, we take comprehensive instructions regarding the client’s estate planning generally and, armed with that information, assisted a client in defending a challenge against receipt of life insurance proceeds by another relative. This was the case of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company v Sorozan Estate, 2016 ONSC 2914 (CanLII).

A Will is a Critical Planning Document After your Death

If you live in a common-law relationship and die without a Will, your common-law spouse might be left high and dry, without any financial assistance unless they find a lawyer willing to sue your estate for support. If that was not what you intended to have happen, you need to have a Will.

Or, what if your adult children never liked your new common-law (or married) spouse and choose to contest your Will? What is the likelihood that they might succeed?

It is extremely important that you hire the right Whitby Will lawyer, such as the Whitby Will lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates, who will ask you the right questions in order to make sure that your Will expresses what you want.

You need a lawyer who will also provide you with estate planning mechanisms to maximize the value of the estate passing to their beneficiaries, and minimize the taxes payable to the government.

Contact the Wills and Estates lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates today, to set up your appointment for your will today.

Why Don’t 50% of Canadians Have a Will?

The most important reason for having a proper Will prepared for you by a lawyer is peace of mind. The Whitby Will lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates will recommended certain advantageous steps for you to take to maximize the estate you leave behind while minimizing the taxes and fees, and making sure that your wishes are carefully and properly expressed in a valid and binding Will (or two – depending on the estate planning advice you receive for your situation).

The most common reason people do not get a Will is the fear that now fate will bring about their death more quickly, or they unpleasantness surrounding talk of their eventual death, or simple procrastination. Yet, accidents happen every day and everywhere and God forbid one happens to you. But, even leaving accidents aside, what if you develop early onset dementia, senility or Alzheimers? Any of those forms of mental incapacity might make signing a Will impossible so, despite your plan to get around to it someday soon, you have now run out of time!

At M. G. Michaels & Associates, our Whitby wills lawyers appreciate the serious nature of estate planning and Will preparation, but we try to inject our good senses of humour into our intake and signing meetings with our clients, trying to reduce their levels of stress during this difficult time. Even without some levity, the peace of mind you will have once the Will is signed will help you sleep at night from then on.

Don’t become a statistic that makes it more difficult and expensive for the family you leave behind.

Contact the Wills and Estates lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates today, to set up your appointment for your will today. You can also give us a call or email us now. You’ll be glad you did.

13 Bad Things that Happen When You Don’t Have a Will

  1. If you die without a Will, the government decides how your estate will be divided. The Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c S.26 dictates that your surviving married spouse is entitled to the first $200,000.00 of your net estate, and your biological children and married spouse then share the remainder in a defined manner. If, however, you had no spouse and no children, the law sets out a type of ‘pecking order’ of who then inherits, and in which order.
  2. If you have minor children who receive part of your estate because it was worth more than $200,000.00, the government is the automatic trustee who will hold their share of the inheritance until they attain age 18—the age of majority in Ontario. In a Will you can name a trustee, and have the monies held longer for those who are 18 and older. You can also authorize your trustee to withdraw monies from the trust to support the child and support their education.
  3. If you reside in a common-law relationship and die without a Will, your common-law spouse is not entitled to share in any part of your estate and, if you were supporting them financially, they would have to sue your estate under The Succession Law Reform Act for an Order, to compel your estate to support them. Meanwhile, it is quite easy to provide for a common-law partner by making your wishes known in a Will.
  4. Not only will your common-law spouse not inherit your estate, if you die without a Will, they are also not necessarily the first choice of the Court to act as administrator of your estate, especially if you have adult children surviving you.
  5. If you die without a Will, anyone can apply to the Court to be confirmed as your executor (estate administrator). Several individuals, who think they may be the most appropriate person to fulfill the duties involved in administering your estate, may come forward and even argue about the choice of executor. And while the Court spends time and resources deciding which applicant is best, the estate may suffer financial losses, and people whom you supported may suffer while waiting to receive support.
  6. If you die without a Will and no one applies to the Court to act as estate administrator, the Ontario Public Guardian & Trustee will have to assume that role. Of course, they have no idea what you may have wanted with respect to any aspect of your estate.
  7. If you had plans to leave a special article or possession to someone specific in your family, or to a friend, that cannot happen because those wishes were not included in a Will, as they ought to have been.
  8. You may have had discussions with a family member, friend or even a common-law spouse about your wishes with respect to your remains (cremation with your ashes kept or scattered somewhere specific), but those will be ignored in favour of the person administering your estate making a choice, that is often based on cost.
  9. If you have a disabled adult child, who receives monthly ODSP benefits and free dental and prescription medication, if you did not create a Henson Trust before your death, or create one in your Will (as many people do), the Ontario government will cancel all of your child’s benefits until they deem the inheritance reasonably spent.
  10. If you die without a Will, and have minor children, if the other parent has not been involved in their lives (or died with you), there may be a custody fight between your surviving relatives about who takes custody of your children, without any approval by you. In fact, if the other parent is alive but you had reasons to stop them from having custody, you will be dead and your relatives possibly powerless to prevent that occurrence.
  11. If you have a charity that is close to your heart and intended to leave a bequest to help their cause, the estate administrator will be unable to make any donation, even if they knew it would have been one of your wishes, because they lack the authorization to do so. Why? Because you did not make a Will setting out your wishes before you died.
  12. If you are a business owner who died without a Will, who will operate your business until the Court approves the appointment of a person as your estate administrator? Will that person be able to manage the operation of your business until it is sold or wound up? If someone from the business applies to be estate administrator, will they be the right person to manage the sale of your personal property and house to provide for your minor children?
  13. If you die without a Will, you run the risk of leaving your estate to bear impossibly high probate fees payable to the Courts, rather than planning your estate to minimize those costs. One mechanism is to have two operating Wills, one for those assets that must be probated, and one to cover those that do not. Probate fees are attracted only to the assets that must be probated, such as real estate and certain investments.