Many people tend to overlook the importance of estate planning. Without a will or an estate plan, your estate would be divided according to the law and not as per your wishes. In most cases, your loved ones would have to submit an application in order to be able to manage your estate.
Did you know that in Ontario, if you die without a will, and you have no next of kin, your estate goes to the Government?
So, what can you do to protect your loved ones and ensure that your estate is divided in accordance with your wishes?
1. INVENTORY: First, create an inventory of all of your assets.
Make sure to include your properties, jewelry and investments, as well as bank accounts. You should also make a note of the location of the assets, including bank account numbers, and names of the financial institutions.
2. LIABILITIES: Second, create a list of all of your debts and liabilities.
Make sure to note the debts which are connected to your specific assets, identifying appropriate account numbers and lenders, if any.
3. EXECUTOR: Thirdly, identify at least two individuals who will be able and willing to manage your estate and distribute it as per your will.
Your executor must be at least 18 years of age, and should be a resident of Ontario
4. BENEFICIARIES: Make a list of people who should be entitled to your estate. Then, identify how you want your estate to be distributed amongst these beneficiaries.
5. MEET WITH A LAWYER: See a lawyer and have your wills drafted in accordance with your wishes. A competent lawyer will be able to advise you on choosing an appropriate executor, storing and registering your wills.