A will is the most basic form of estate planning. A properly drawn will provides for a representative who will carry out your directions for the disposition of your estate after your death.
Some things to think about before making a Will include the following:
- Provision for beneficiaries,
- Choosing executors and trustees,
- Choosing guardians,
- Designating beneficiaries under an RRSP, and
- Income tax considerations.
Wills, however, take effect only upon the death of the will maker. Because they speak prospectively, the will maker has no way to oversee their administration, or to correct misjudgments or unfairness. Furthermore, wills do not necessarily take best advantage of tax laws, and cannot be immune to attack under various statutes.
As a result, various sorts of trusts are becoming more common where there is substantial wealth to be dealt with, or many interested parties. By donating assets during one’s lifetime one can avoid the effect of the rules of probate and administration of the estate. The judicious use of joint tenancies, powers of attorney or appointment and trusts can make plans for the future much more certain.
Tax planning devices are also commonplace today, so that the impact of tax, both annual income tax and taxes triggered by the death of the client can be minimized. Our aim in attempting to advise our clients on wealth preservation is to provide the most effective corporate and financial structure for each client’s needs and aspirations.