Toronto Wills & Estates Lawyers
Evenson Bundgard LLP’s Toronto wills and estates lawyers provide quality legal advice, representation, and services in a wide range of matters affecting estates, including:
A Last Will and Testament is the foundational document of an effective estate plan. A well-constructed Will (or multiple Wills, if appropriate) can provide for the orderly disposition of your assets to your heirs, following your death, in the manner you want. A Will can be effective in reducing the tax burden on your estate. It also can help safeguard your legacies to vulnerable beneficiaries, particularly children and the disabled, through use of suitable testamentary trusts. Whether young, old, or in between; whether single, married, divorced or in a personal relationship; whether employed, in business or retired: your Will should reflect appropriately your life circumstances in order to protect your estate and meet your testamentary objectives.
Evenson Bundgard LLP’s Toronto wills and estates lawyers have the experience to work with you to develop a Will suited to your individualized needs and concerns.
You are unique, and your estate plan should reflect that uniqueness. Your estate plan should prepare for your personal and property care while living and for the orderly, efficient, and tax-effective disposition of your assets to your chosen heirs following your death. Evenson Bundgard LLP’s Toronto wills and estates lawyers offer wide-ranging services to develop an appropriate estate plan for you including:
- Wills (single or multiple)
- Powers of Attorney (for property and personal care)
- Trusts (including various inter vivos trusts, testamentary trusts, family trusts, Henson trusts for disabled beneficiaries)
- Business succession planning
- Charitable giving
Trusts can form a key ingredient of effective estate planning and offer an optional way to hold and dispose of assets. Stated generally, trusts can be established while you are living – known broadly as inter vivos trusts – or through your Last Will and Testament when you have passed – by means of a testamentary trust. By establishing a trust you, as the settler of that trust, can provide for a trustee to hold assets for any one or more class of beneficiary. You can accomplish this successfully by a carefully-designed plan, which best includes a formalized written trust document.
Trusts, depending on your specific circumstances, might offer a preferred means of addressing any number of concerns respecting your estate, such as:
- Helping to protect your assets from the reach of creditors
- Providing for income splitting, with the potential for reducing payable taxes
- Providing for the administration of assets on behalf of vulnerable beneficiaries (for example, minor children or financially-incapable disabled adults)
- Benefiting disabled beneficiaries, without rendering them financially-ineligible to receive available government-sponsored disability benefits
- Avoiding or reducing probate taxes
- Maintaining privacy concerning your estate plan
- Addressing the estate-planning complications that may arise in more complex, blended family situations
- Maintaining a measure of control over your assets while you are living, yet still providing an orderly mechanism for assets transfer to others after your passing
Evenson Bundgard LLP offers legal services in drafting a variety of types of trusts, including:
- Spousal testamentary trusts
- Insurance trusts
- Family trusts (e.g., as part of an “estate freeze”, to help transfer assets in a tax-efficient manner)
- Henson trusts for disabled adult children
- Alter ego trusts
- Spousal/joint partner trusts
Powers of Attorney
Whereas your Will takes effect only when you have died, a Power of Attorney speaks to your circumstances when you are living but need someone to act for you – for example, if you should become incapacitated. Powers of Attorney documents thus form an essential component of any well-designed estate plan.
There are two basic Power of Attorney documents for estate planning: one for property, and another for personal care.
Depending on what you stipulate, the authority you grant to someone (typically a spouse, close relative, or trusted friend) to administer your property under a Power of Attorney for property could be exercised either when you have capacity or lack capacity. At your option, the authority you grant to your chosen attorney to administer your property could be wide or, conversely, restricted.
The authority you grant under a Power of Attorney document for personal care however only is effective if you become incapacitated. The person whom you appoint can make decisions affecting you in a number of personal care domains, such as including your medical treatment, where you reside, your nutrition, etc. In the document, you may provide binding directions or guidance to your attorney respecting your wishes on how relevant care decisions should be made and implemented. Of increasing importance to many clients, a Power of Attorney for personal care also can incorporate provisions detailing what “end-of-life” medical treatment choices you would like made on your behalf.
Evenson Bundgard LLP has the experience to create Powers of Attorney documents that meet your unique needs.
Evenson Bundgard LLP’s Toronto wills and estates lawyers offer clients legal services in a wide number of estate administration matters, including:
- Probate applications
- Advising executors, trustees, guardians, and attorneys acting under powers of attorney, on their various rights and obligations as estate administrators
- Advice and representation in matters respecting the appointment of Estate Trustees During Litigation