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Toronto Family Lawyers Advising on Wills and Estate Planning

A will is one of the most important documents a person can ever prepare in their lifetime. Having a valid up to date will is critical in maintaining control over your assets, ensuring that children, spouses and other family members and loved ones are taken care of, and providing for a clear means through which your assets are distributed following your death.

At Gelman & Associates our knowledgeable Toronto wills lawyers have assisted thousands of clients with planning for the future, including estate planning, succession planning, and drafting wills. We take the time to listen to the individual needs and concerns of each our clients in order to deliver the highest level of legal guidance and advice. We care about you and your family and will do our utmost to see that all your needs are met.

Who Should Have A Will?

It is crucial for everyone to have a carefully drafted, up-to-date, and valid will that has been reviewed by a Toronto wills lawyer, as the consequences of dying without a will can be significant.

Contact Gelman & Associates to get started on drafting a will if you:

  • Do not have a will;
  • Are getting married;
  • Are separated or divorced;
  • Are getting re-married;
  • Have a common law partner
  • Are having children.

In addition, if you already have a will, it should be regularly reviewed to ensure that it remains valid through major life changes (such as many of the above).

What Happens if I Don’t Have a Will?

If you die without a will you will be deemed to have died “intestate” (i.e. without having left instructions as to how your property and assets are to be divided and distributed).

In such situations, your property and assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules in the Succession Law Reform Act, which provides for a regimented distribution of your property, beginning with your spouse, then your children, and so on, rather than according to your wishes.

This can cause challenges for common-law spouses, as spouses from a second-marriage, and others. This also means that your property and assets will not necessarily be divided as you would have wanted it to be divided and in the proportions you would have wanted it to be divided in.

In addition to creating significant problems for your family and other intended beneficiaries, dying without a will can also introduce substantial time delays and considerable costs to managing and distributing your estate.

Not having a will means you are essentially surrendering control over your property and assets to the courts and to the government and allowing them to decide how your estate will be divided and to whom it will go to.

Contact Our Estate Planning Lawyers at one of Our Six Offices throughout North York, Downtown Toronto, Mississauga, Scarborough, Aurora and Barrie

Contact Gelman & Associates today to learn how our lawyers can help you to draft a will, have us review your current will, or help with your overall estate plan. With six offices conveniently located throughout North York, downtown Toronto, Mississauga, Scarborough, Aurora and Barrie, we are easily accessible by transit and off-highway. Call us at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-736-0200 or contact us online for a confidential initial consultation.

FAQ

Estate planning is a comprehensive way of planning for the distribution of your estate. Your estate consists of everything you own, such as real estate, cars, bank accounts, investments, and any other assets that make up your net worth. An estate plan may include a will. A will is simply a legal document that sets out a person’s wishes about what will happen to their assets at the end of their life. There are formal legal requirements to formatting a will, and these requirements can change depending on where you live.

There are three basic types of wills that are valid in Canada:

Formal will: This is a typewritten will signed by you in the presence of at least two witnesses (who cannot be your beneficiaries or their spouses). It is advisable to have a lawyer prepare this will so that you can avoid potential problems such as improper wording or signing.

Notarial will: This is similar to a formal wil,l but is only used in Quebec. It is prepared by a notary public and signed before the notary and a witness.

Holographic will: This is entirely handwritten, dated, and signed by you with no witness involved. Experts discourage this type of will because it is subject to misinterpretation and challenge. In addition, some provinces do not recognize it as a legal document.

You should write a will as soon as you have children or assets, even if their value is modest. Your estate will be less complicated for your loved ones to manage, and, above all, you will be the one to decide how your wealth will be shared.  It’s also important to note that you may need to change your will if your circumstances change due to marriage, re-marriage, separation, divorce, birth or adoption, death of a spouse, or death of an executor.

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