Your will speaks for you when you are gone, and as such is your final instructions which can dictate how your assets will be divided and ensure a smooth transition to your loved ones. Your will creates the foundation for your last rites such as the payment of your taxes, the dispersion of your estate and the decisions regarding your final resting place. Your will is an all-encompassing document which needs to be crafted by a professional to ensure your last rights are honored. Our trained estate lawyers are here to help you in creating a will that will help you leave the legacy you have worked so hard to create.
Once your will is created your estate is now protected and there is a certainty where your assets will go upon your demise. However, the will only deals with what occurs after your demise, so the question must be asked how can you protect yourself and your loved ones while you are still alive? A living will or more commonly referred to as a power of attorney is required to ensure that if at any point in time you become incapacitated or medically unable to make your own decisions an executor is selected to handle your medical decisions called a Power of Attorney for Health, and a separate power of attorney will be created for your financial decisions called a Power of Attorney General. The executor selected has a fiduciary duty to do no harm to your assets and your health. As such they must work towards your best interests in maintaining both your health and assets. Speak to one of our trained estate lawyers today to find out how you can prepare your living wills and your will.
Upon a person passing the executor is responsible to administer the estate of the deceased. The first matter to be handled is that of the individuals tax filing, which is to occur on the year the deceased passed, and the second is to determine whether the estate needs to have the estate probated. There are two different methods by which probate can occur and that is determined whether or not a will exists.
Many executors that have been named in a loved one’s will find themselves in a difficult position upon the demise of said loved one, and on top of that they are responsible for handling their estate affairs. They are unsure if they can simply divide the assets as stipulated in the will or if they must first procure permission from a government authority prior to said distribution. Most wills need to be probated. Probate is the process by which the executor’s authority to distribute assets as defined in the will is confirmed by the government by them issuing a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will. Our trained estate lawyers are here to help you in filing your probate documents.
What if there is no will, how are the assets divided? Who determines who gets what? It is extremely important to have a will created before your demise to ensure that your loved ones don’t find themselves in a state of panic once you have passed. However, if you find yourself in a position where a family member has passed away without a will our team can help you apply to become the estate trustee by filing for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will. This process will give notification to all that are entitled to the assets of the deceased and once you have been issued the probate certificate you can then go about dividing the assets of the estate with all that would be entitled to a share in the estate.
The passing of a family member is a traumatic time for a family and loved ones, often times parties can act irrationally during this turbulent time causing conflict and a breakdown in communication lines. The last wishes of a deceased might not be to the liking of a family member or might have outright excluded a party who feels they should have had an entitlement. This can cause a conflict between the estate and the beneficiaries, our trained team of estate lawyers can Challenge a Will, or in the alternative provide a Defence for a Will if the need arises.
Our Wills and Estate team is here to help, a few of our services in the field are listed below: