North & Company LLP does work in wills, estates, and trusts. We have helped thousands of clients in estate planning, estate administration, and estate litigation matters. We are experts in drafting well-written wills, trusts, and will substitutes. We can also ensure you have an Enduring Power of Attorney and an appropriate Personal Directive. Moreover, we have significant experience in probate cases involving contesting Wills and Trusts, Adoptions, and Guardianships. We will ensure that your wishes are respected and help you preserve the health of your family’s financial future.
End-of-life planning is not easy, but it is essential. North & Company LLP appreciates balancing personal and family needs while considering tax implications and the effect certain decisions may have on close relationships. Thinking ahead and working with lawyers and other professionals to ensure a smooth transition is crucial. This planning is not just about money. It is about providing for your and your family’s well-being and protecting relationships.
When someone passes away, the assets, debts, associated court and other costs must be dealt with by one or more people.
This person has in the past been called the executor of the estate but more recently referred to as a personal representative (PR). The PR is responsible for locating assets, paying funeral costs, applying to the court for probate if necessary, settling the deceased’s debts and distributing the remaining money and property according to the will.
If you are a personal representative, you should consult a lawyer on the proper process and steps necessary to administer the estate.
If you are over 18 years old, it is essential to begin estate planning.
Estate planning includes more than just what happens to money. It ensures that you are taken care of if you become incapacitated, allows your loved ones to pay your bills when you can’t, and helps ensure your last days are comfortable and easy for your family.
It is even more critical if you have children. Through estate planning, you can appoint a guardian for your children and a trustee to ensure they go to the best home and are financially taken care of.
A Will directs how your property is distributed after your pass away. It can be as specific or as general as you like, subject to certain restrictions and names the person or people you want to administer your estate.
A Will also designates guardians and trustees for parents of minor or dependent children. If you don’t have a will, assets are distributed according to Part 3 of the Wills and Succession Act. To distribute those assets, someone must apply to the court to administer the estate, which costs time and money.
Do you want to leave your loved one with uncertainty and extra costs right after you pass away? If not, reach out to North & Company LLP.
Personal Directives come into effect if you suffer from a severe injury or illness and cannot make decisions on non-financial matters but rather decisions on health care, Medical Assistance in Dying and deciding if and when to move to a care home.
The trigger for Personal Directives requires at least one Physician or Psychologist to consult on the impact of their decision-making capacity. The document allows you to choose someone you trust to act on your behalf after you’ve lost capacity.
Imagine you are in an accident and lose your ability. To make matters worse, you need some dental work. You cannot consent to the dental work, and you remain in constant pain, and there is nothing your family can do to help. It’s too late.
Personal Directives are one of those “rather have and not need than need and not have” documents. Like a Will and Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), everyone should have a Personal Directive.
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is delegating authority to someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf. Authority is given at anytime and can be designed to take effect if you lose capacity. Whether it is a severe illness or you have a family history of dementia, this document allows the person you choose as your agent to take care of your finances when you cannot.
When someone passes away with money and property still in their name, the estate executor will likely require a grant of probate or a grant of administration. Probate affirms the validity of the will and the executor’s authority to handle the deceased’s assets. A grant of administration is applicable when the deceased did not have a will, and someone applies to the court to administer the estate. In either case, banks, the land titles department, and other institutions will typically only release information or assets with probate or a grant of administration, protecting both the executor and institutions from liability. These processes can be tricky, and it is best to consult a lawyer.
A Trust manages assets when the beneficiary of the trust may not be able to themselves, protects the assets from being eaten away too quickly, has potential tax savings, avoids probate, the details of the trust are kept private, and more. A Trust can potentially be a very important tool in estate planning. They can be set up prior to death or through the passing of a Testator.
Family and Spousal Trusts can be used to accomplish multiple goals. If you have young children and were to pass away, the assets they are entitled to be held until they are 18, and they would get it all. A Discretionary trust allows you to appoint someone you trust to distribute the assets to the entitled children in a discretionary manner. They have the authority to give the funds as they see fit. As another potential scenario, if you have a business and your family is unable or unwilling to take over the business, you could put it in a trust with your family as the beneficiaries and appoint a trustee to manage the assets. No one wants their family to be unprotected and vulnerable upon their passing. If you are curious about setting up a trust for your family, please get in touch with North & Company LLP.
An Inter Vivos trust is created during the life of the person who wants to set up the trust. It holds all the benefits of standard trust with the added benefit that the person setting up the trust can appoint themselves as a trustee so they maintain control of the assets within the trust. This ensures a smooth transition of the beneficial interest in the trust’s assets, and the Trust avoids probate. If you are curious how a trust might help you, North & Company LLP is happy to talk with you.
A Testamentary Trust is created on the death of the testator. A Trust set up upon the death of an individual still provides the same benefits as a family and inter vivos trust. They can be effective estate planning tools. However, recent tax changes have reduced the tax benefits that trusts used to have. Despite this, setting up a trust can still be an excellent tool to carry out the testator’s desires, and a well-drafted trust allows the trustee to end the trust if the financial burden of the trust were to outweigh its benefits.