Your savings, real estate properties, stock market investments, and emergency funds are the pillars of your estate, which might have required a life-long effort to build, maintain, and expand. Today, that estate is likely to represent the ultimate financial safety net for you, your family, and your loved ones.
And yet, over half of Canadians don't have a Will or real estate planning in place, a mistake which could cost them to lose or damage their assets and leave their loved ones without long-term financial protection.
Partnering with an estate planning lawyer at MerGen Law can help you safeguard your wealth and optimize your assets to reflect your current and future goals. Here's what you need to know.
Estate Planning: An Overview
Estate planning refers to the ongoing process of managing, arranging, and disposing of a person's financial affairs, assets, and wealth while alive and after death. "Estate" is a broad umbrella term that encapsulates a person's belongings and assets, including their houses, vehicles, savings, shares, bank accounts, and insurance policies. The estate might also include items of personal and sentimental value, which are to be passed on alongside inheritance.
Having a plan for your estate is crucial to preserve your wealth after you die or in the case of severe or incapacitating illness. While Will writing represents a significant part of planning your estate, this isn't the only aspect to look into - especially in the case of complex family-related or financial circumstances.
Working with a specialized estate planning lawyer at MerGen Law can help you look after all aspects of wealth management and preservation.
Partnering With an Estate Planning Solicitor: What to Expect
Online platforms have made Will writing all the more manageable, but simply using a template to arrange and manage your wealth might be inefficient - and, since the slightest mistake can invalidate your testament, even risky!
That is where estate planning solicitors come in. Estate planning lawyers are specialized legal professionals with the experience and knowledge necessary to understand the intricacies of estate planning and the regulations for estate planning in Canada.
An estate planning solicitor will adopt a holistic approach to your wealth, assets, and goals, and can help you structure your assets safely and efficiently, create Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney, and ensure that your assets are managed following your testament after your death.
Review their attitude, values, and standards when choosing an estate planning solicitor to partner with. Above all, choose a friendly legal partner with whom you feel comfortable discussing private and sensitive matters.
Key Roles of an Estate Planning Solicitor
Estate planning solicitors cover many roles and responsibilities throughout a client's life. While the person is still alive, specialized solicitors will proactively manage their estate, wealth, and Will. After their death, estate planning lawyers are responsible for administering the Will.
Some of the main tasks of an estate planning solicitor include:
- Offering advice on Will writing, drafting Living and Last Will, and executing direction after a person's passing.
- Setting up and managing trusts destined for specific trustees
- Managing and safeguarding wealth through investment advice and proactive administration
- Managing wealth and inheritance tax efficiently so that beneficiaries can receive the entire amount destined for them.
- Planning for healthcare and nursing home costs, as well as who will be responsible for fulfilling health wishes
- Managing international assets
The Benefits of Estate Planning with a Specialized Lawyer
Estate planning solicitors are essential partners when looking to make the most of the wealth you've built throughout your life - no matter the size and significance of your estate.
During your initial consultation with your legal team, you can learn more about what to expect from your partnership with an estate planning lawyer. In the meanwhile, here are just some of the benefits worth considering.
Managing Your Assets in a Tax-Efficient Way
The process of executing a Will is all but fast or straightforward. That is why being as prepared as you can help streamline the process and ensure that your assets are handled in a tax-efficient way.
For example, after your passing, your estate will undergo the probate process - or the legal Will recognition procedure necessary to distribute the estate per the testament. However, this process can take several years and toll your estate due to associated taxes and fees.
An estate planning lawyer can use legal instruments such as joint property ownership, gifts, and trusts to protect your wealth from estate taxes and probate.
Ensuring That Beneficiaries Receive Their Inheritance
Upon your passing, the beneficiaries of your Will might need to file a probate, which can take 3-6 months. During the probate period, the Will can be contested, which might stretch timelines to several years.
At the same time, your loved ones and family members might not have the financial means to support themselves in the meanwhile or might see their share of inheritance affected by complex contests. The role of your estate planning attorney is to ensure that your Will's beneficiaries receive their assets following your will and without delay.
Avoiding Conflicts in Complex Situations
While only around 3% of Wills get contested, it is possible for family members and loved ones to be unhappy about the dispositions outlined in your Last Will. And, this is even more likely in the case of large estates and complex family relationships, such as in the case of multiple marriages and children from different parents.
A specialized estate planning attorney can help you contest a Will or avoid conflicts among different parties.
Keeping Up to Date with Estate Planning Regulations
The probate code - as well as estate taxes and regulations - change yearly, and, without the help of a specialized lawyer, it can be hard to track how these changes affect your assets.
For example, your assets might be taxed unnecessarily high, or you might be subjected to tax liability. When partnering with the team at MerGen Law, you can enjoy the peace of mind that your assets are managed in a tax-efficient way and compliance with the latest updates to the law.
Ensuring Wealth Preservation
Without proactive management, you can see the wealth built over a lifetime fragmented, exposed to risk, or dwindled. A comprehensive estate plan crafted by a specialized lawyer can help you manage your assets, recommend instruments such as insurance policies, and advise about investments to ensure your wealth is preserved through the generations.
Book a Free Consultation with the Specialized Team of Estate Planning Lawyers at MerGen Law
While anyone can benefit from partnering with an estate planning lawyer, finding a partner you can trust and confide in is crucial. At MerGen Law, we understand that discussing matters such as your Will, death, or inheritance might not be easy.
However, we believe that managing your estate can significantly benefit the people you love the most after your death.
That is why we strive to provide a friendly, welcoming, and compassionate service to each client. Learn more by booking a free consultation with our team at 403-209-4988.