Estate Planning FAQs — Answering the Questions Ontarians are Looking for Answers To
Estate planning can leave Ontarians scratching their heads. There are different forms to be filled out, documents to sort through, and a ton of emotions that comes with it all (yes, even planning your own estate can be an emotionally charged moment!).
So how do you make sense of it all? Well, this FAQ is a great place to start! We’re going to dive into the top questions Ontarians have when it comes to estate planning and — most important — explain the answers you’re looking for.
Let’s get started.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of arranging what happens to your estate in the event of your death. This process allows you to make it clearly known where your assets will go, including (but not limited to):
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes after you pass, including all of the assets outlined above. A Will also decides who manages your assets until they are divided up.
Are Estate Planning and creating a Will the Same Thing?
A Will is part of estate planning, but they are not the same thing. A Will is a legal document that dictates your final wishes, including where assets go or who would be the guardian of any minor children. Estate planning is a broader plan of action that includes making a Will, plus planning final arrangements, appointing a power of attorney, and selecting a life insurance policy.
How Can I Make a Will?
In Canada, there are a few ways to write a legally binding will. These options include:
Working with a lawyer
Using an online Will service
Purchasing a DIY Will kit
Drafting a holographic Will (in some provinces)
Many Canadians making Wills are finding that an online Will service is a great middle ground between DIYing the entire process and working with an estate lawyer.
What Is an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Estate planning lawyers are lawyers that specialize in the laws that impact your estate. They can help with creating a Will, assist with probate planning, dealing with estate taxes, and more.
Do I Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
It’s not mandatory to have an estate planning lawyer, but they can guide you through the entire planning process. It may be especially beneficial to consult with an estate planning lawyer if you have a complex estate.
What Is the Best Way to Create a Will Online?
A growing number of Canadians are finding peace of mind creating a Will online. Two of the major benefits of online Wills are:
It doesn’t get much more convenient than creating your Will on your own time and from the comfort of home. All it takes is 20 spare minutes.
The cost of using an online Will platform is a fraction of visiting an estate lawyer. Most Canadians require simple wills perfect for an online Will platform, so why pay extra when it’s not needed. Plus, you can make a lifetime of updates at no extra charge.
While all online Will services are convenient and cost effective, Epilogue Wills is the only online provider that was created by two former estate lawyers. Get a lawyer-quality will without the lawyer-level fees.
What Happens if Your Parents Die Without a Will in Ontario?
This is a question that often comes up when people find themselves in a situation where a loved one has done just this — died without a Will. You technically are not required to create a Will, but having one in place is extremely beneficial to your loved ones.
If you die without a Will in Ontario, your estate is distributed based on the Ontario's Succession Law Reform Act. Somebody in your life (a spouse, child, or friend, for example) will have to apply for authority to administer your estate.
Is There Estate Tax in Ontario?
No — there are no estate taxes in Ontario. When a beneficiary inherits money from an estate, they don’t have to pay taxes on it.
However, the estate may have to pay tax (on income or capital gains) prior to the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. The taxes that are owed are typically taken directly out of the estate before dividing up the assets.
There are also Estate Administration Taxes, which equal:
$0 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the first $50,000 of the value of the estate
$15 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the value of the estate exceeding $50,000
Final Thoughts on Estate Planning Questions for Ontarians
Estate planning can leave you with a lot of questions, but hopefully this provides the answers you’re looking for. Having an understanding of these estate planning FAQs will help make the process even smoother — both for you as you plan, and loved ones as they execute your wishes one day.
If you have any more questions about creating your Will or estate planning, we would love to try and help! You can get in contact with us here.