Why It’s Important To List Your Assets When Making Your Will

Many people, especially when they get older, don’t want to talk about wills and assets.

But, even if you don’t want to talk about it, it’s a good idea to keep a list of your assets in your safety deposit box, with your lawyer, or attached to your will, including a description of them and the location of your bank accounts and other investments. The list should also be updated from time to time This may also good time to talk to a lawyer. For a few hundred dollars spent at a consultation, a lot of time and expense can be saved down the road for your executor and beneficiaries, who may have to spend time and resources after your death to make sure that all of your assets have been accounted for.

If an estate trustee doubts that all the assets are accounted for, it is his or her duty to take reasonable steps to find them. If it is suspected that the assets include real property then a lawyer can help with searches. If the asset is a GIC or bank account, the estate trustee can inquire at the bank or investment firm. Once the estate trustee has been issued a Certificate of Estate Trustee (commonly referred to as having the will probated), he or she then has the power to be able to make those inquiries. There are also people who specialize in estate matters that can be hired to make searches. This is time and expense that can be saved if a list of assets is filed along with the will, as sometimes if someone suspects that there are additional assets that the estate trustee has not disclosed, and there is no proof one way or the other, the estate could end up in litigation.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with litigation law issues in the Toronto, Ontario Region, contact Steinberg, Morton, Hope & Israel LLP for a consultation.

This article is taken from a January 15, 2010 interview with David A. Brooker, litigation Lawyer with Steinberg Morton, Hope & Israel LLP, a Toronto Litigation Law Firm and is not intended as, nor should be taken to be, legal advice or opinion. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.