Notwithstanding popular belief, without a will, the Government will not automatically inherit your assets or property upon your death. In fact, without a will, your estate is subject to the division schedule outlined within the Succession Law Reform Act, (Ontario) which may be difficult for your loved ones to understand or apply. Further, if you have assets that are located outside of Ontario, parts of your estate are subject to that jurisdiction which can further complicate matters.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
While Wills have the ability to speak on your behalf after death, Powers of Attorney speak on your behalf during circumstances in which you are incapacitated or unavailable to make decisions for yourself. Preparing Powers of Attorney for both personal care and property are also an important aspect of your estate plan. These documents ensure that you have the ability to choose the person that will make decisions and maintain your assets during your absence or incapacity. The Power of Attorney also gives you the ability to provide directions to your selected attorney as well as place any restrictions upon the actions that they may exercise.
Law In Motion Professional Corporation has experience with drafting Wills and Powers of Attorney and will work with you to ensure that your wishes are well documented within your Will and Power of Attorney documentation.
A codicil is a legal document that attaches to an original Will and provides an amendment to the Will itself. Codicils are useful in the event that your circumstances have changed; however, the changes do not impact the entire will. For instance, a codicil can be used to change your named executor or the distribution of certain property etc. Akin to the Will document, a codicil must be signed, dated and witnessed by two individuals and is subject to the Succession Law Reform Act (Ontario).
Although a codicil may seem like an easy option and solution to amend a will, it may not always be the best avenue. Law In Motion Professional Corporation is familiar with Will drafting and provides Will review services to ensure that your will is up to date with the law and your wishes. Upon review, Law In Motion Professional Corporation will work with you to ensure that a codicil is sufficient in your circumstances.
PROBATE AND ESTATE MATTERS
Although Ontario does not impose estate or death taxes, in certain circumstances, when an individual passes away, the assets of the Estate may be subject to an Estate Administration Tax (also known as “Probate”). Probate is the process wherein the Will is validated by the Court and a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (with or without) a Will is issued. As part of the process, the estate must be valued and estate administration fees must be paid to the Minister of Finance. At present, the estate administration fees in Ontario are $5 for each $1,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 (which is equal to $250), plus an additional $15 for each $1,000 over and above the $50,000 threshold.
In January of 2015, the Ministry of Finance created the Estate Information Return which must be filed by all individuals who have received a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (with or without) a Will after January 1, 2015. There are certain exceptions to this general rule; however, typically, an Estate Information Return is due within 90 days of the date of the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (with or without) a Will. In the event that the Estate Information Return is received by the Ministry of Finance within the 90 day window, the Estate is subject to a 4-year period wherein the Ministry of Finance can assess/reassess the Estate. Failure to submit the Estate Information Return within the 90 day window, subjects the Estate Trustee to penalties and an unlimited timeframe within which the Ministry of Finance can assess/reassess the Estate.
With proper planning, estate administration fees can be minimized or avoided all together thereby negating the requirement to file an Estate Information Return; however, this will depend on your circumstances and wishes. Law In Motion Professional Corporation is familiar with estate matters and will work with you and your accountants to ensure that your estate is structured in the most advantageous way for yourself and your heirs and can also provide assistance throughout the process.
- Will and Powers of Attorney (single): $500.00 plus disbursements and HST
- Will and Powers of Attorney (couple): $800.00 plus disbursements and HST
- Powers of Attorney (single): $150.00 plus disbursements and HST
- Powers of Attorney (couple): $300.00 plus disbursements and HST
- Codicil: $150.00 plus disbursements and HST (per amendment)
- Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will: $2,500.00 plus disbursements and HST (application only)
- Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will: $3,500.00 plus disbursements and HST (application only)
- Estate Information Return: $700.00 plus disbursements and HST
- Will review and interpretation: based on rate of $200.00 per hour (plus disbursements and HST)