Why An Estate Plan Must Address The Needs Of Your Family

Having an up-to-date and well-considered estate plan is essential to ensure that people’s families and their own needs are met.

If you do not have proper documentation in place, in terms of your will, then your assets are not going to be distributed the way you want them to be. Provincial legislation will dictate how your estate is distributed and quite often, that is not what the deceased would have wished for. For instance, the government will choose an executor or estate trustee, the person who will be looking after the administration of your estate. There will probably be a lot of tax advantages lost because the will was not properly drafted or there is no will. It creates a lot of stress, aggravation and expense for the family and makes things much more difficult to deal with.

Obviously, if you do not have a proper estate plan or a will, then you may be disinheriting certain beneficiaries who are depending on you for support. If there is not a proper will, those dependents may challenge your estate and this will result in further cost and expensive litigation, not to mention the tremendous strain and animosity that could develop between family members. It is very important to have the documentation current and reviewed regularly.

I also encourage my clients to sit down with their families, their spouses, and their children, to discuss what they have in mind for the estate plan because sometimes, they may be thinking of leaving a particular gift or property, such as a cottage, to a child and the child may not have any interest. Sometimes there are situations where the parent may want to treat children differently in the will. They might feel that one child is in greater need of financial assistance than another child, and we tell clients that it may not be a good idea to treat the beneficiaries differently unless the entire family has bought into the plan. Children, even though they are adults, are still children, and when it comes to estate matters, in many cases, they feel slighted or hurt if they are not treated equally. So we do encourage our clients to sit down with their families and have a heart to heart chat around the dining room table. In the old days, people would keep things very secretive. They did not want to discuss their estate plans, or they said it was no one’s business. We still have clients who feel that way, but in my view, it is much better to discuss the estate plan openly now and prevent any potential problems later.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with estate law issues in the Markham, Ontario Region, contact Charles B. Ticker for a consultation.

Contact Charles B. Ticker Law Office in Markham »

This article is taken from a April 25, 2008 interview with Charles B. Ticker, Estate Lawyer with Charles B. Ticker Law Office, a Markham, Ontario Wills and Estate Law Firm. This article and website provide general information on legal and related matters and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should consult and retain qualified legal professionals in your area to advise you about your particular situation and the law in your jurisdiction as laws vary from province to province, state to state and country to country.