Thank you to everyone who attended our first educational seminar of 2020, 'Estate planning for tomorrow, today', last Tuesday night! Estate planning is a topic that will affect everyone at some point in their life and we are grateful to have had two professionals share their insights with us. Below you will find a summary of our key takeaways as well as a few references available for download.
Speaker #1 - Jim Kibble
Independent fee-only estate planner and founder of Ontario Estate Consulting Solutions Inc.
Jim's main topics of discussion were the components of a sound estate plan and the benefit of having 2 Wills.
- 51% of Canadians do not have a valid and up-to-date Will
- Do not die without a Will - having one is better than none
- Consulting a legal professional to draft your estate documents is highly recommended - some of the worst case scenarios seen when someone passes stem from a "do it yourself" situation
- It is also recommended that estate planning be a core focus of your chosen lawyers' practice - it doesn't have to be the only thing they do, but should be a large component
- Most people in Ontario can benefit from having 2 Wills
- If you have owned your home (or other real estate) since before 2003, you may qualify for the "first dealings exemption" - meaning it does NOT have to go through probate (but ONLY if you have two Wills)
- Probate is essentially an estate administration tax - it is the judicial process whereby a Will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document
- Probate fees in Ontario are $0 on the first $50,000 of the estate value and 1.5% of amount in excess of $50,000
- The real work in estate administration comes when the second spouse passes, the first death is relatively straightforward as assets are often listed in joint name
- The vast majority of the time it is not recommended holding assets in joint name with anyone other than your spouse
- There are two types of joint ownership in Ontario; joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS) and tenants in common - they are very different and important to understand the characteristics of each when entering into joint ownership situations
- Click here to download a copy of the 'Estate Information Return' - when acting as an executor, this return must be
completed and received by the Ministry of Finance within 180 calendar days after the certificate of appointment of estate
trustee is issued
Speaker #2 - Frank Di Pietro
Assistant Vice President of Mackenzie Investments Tax and Estate Planning Group.
Frank's main topic of discussion was the role of the executor.
- Being an executor is a job, not a honour
- An 'executor' is a person(s) or trust company appointed in a Will to carry out the terms of that Will upon death
- In most cases, it's advisable that only one person be named as executor with alternates available should they be unable or unwilling to act when the time comes
- Having joint executors can cause conflict and delay the estate administration process if decisions cannot be agreed upon
- Even if you would like to name an individual as your executor, it is almost always recommended that a trust company be listed as a last resort - they never die and never become senile
- Click here to download a copy of the 'Executor Checklist' which outlines the duties and responsibilities of an executor
- When choosing someone to be your executor, some of the most important questions to ask yourself are:
- Are they willing and able?
- Are they located near by (at the very least in the same province)?
- Are they trustworthy, responsible and exercise good judgement?
- Are they administratively and financially savvy?
- Are they familiar with your personal values and wishes?
- Do they get along with the beneficiaries?
- An executor generally has one year to carry out the administration of the estate, this is referred to as the "executor's year"
- Executors are entitled to compensation for their services, to a maximum of 5% of the estate value
- If you choose to receive compensation when acting as an executor, it is important to keep a log of your time and any out-of-pocket expenses incurred to justify the fee charged
- An executor is not liable for the debts of the estate, however; they can be liable for improper administration, most commonly failing to advertise for creditors
- Do not begin dispersing any assets until you have obtained a 'Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee' and probate certificate (if required)
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or would like to get in touch with any of our estate planning professionals.