Wills and Estates

Ottawa Wills and Estates Lawyer

Wills Drafting

At TDJ Law, we will ensure that you have a properly executed will and valid powers of attorney, which are essential to protecting your most important valuable assets – your family. Without a valid will, your assets are passed to beneficiaries according to statutory guidelines, which may or may not reflect your intentions. Also, if you do not have a will, courts must approve the appointment of an executor, and will decide who looks after your minor children, if any. These issues are easily resolved through a properly drafted will.

For pricing info, please see our pricing schedule. At TDJ Law, we promote client loyalty and will offer discounted pricing for this service if we are also retained to assist you in another matter.

Intestate Succession (without a will)

If you pass away without a will, your estate will be distributed on your death based on the rules set out in the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act. If you leave a surviving spouse and children, your spouse will receive the first $200,000.00. The remainder will be divided between your spouse and children, with the percentage depending upon the number of children. If you have no children, your spouse will inherit entire estate.

If do not have a spouse or children, then your estate goes to your next of kin, which is determined by “degrees of consanguinity” (relationship) under the Succession Law Reform Act.

If any part of your estate passes to a child under the age of 18, your child’s share in the estate will be managed by the Ontario Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee on behalf your child. The child will be given his or her once they turn 18.

Testate Succession (with a will)

Subject to your spouse’s right to an “equalization payment” under the Ontario Family Law Act, you may distribute your estate in whatever way you consider best for your family. This will allow you to:

  • Decide who will administer/manage your estate as Estate Trustee (Executor)
  • Grant or limit the extent of the Trustee’s powers in dealing with your estate. Powers that may be vested in the Trustee include a the right to distribute your estate, to invest and sell assets in your estate, to borrow money on behalf of the estate, to make elections under the Income Tax Act, among other things.

You may also specify how your estate will be managed for the benefit of your children, including:

  • who will act as trustee for the children
  • whether monies can be distributed as income, principal or both, to the children prior to majority
  • whether monies can be paid to the parent or guardian a child for their benefit
  • at what age a child will be entitled to his or her share of your estate, either in lump sum or as installments
  • specify who will inherit your personal property

Updating Your Will

If you marry after the date of this Will, it will in most cases be automatically revoked, and you should consult your lawyer again.

The following are some of the events that might occur, requiring you to mention same to your solicitor in case any alterations to your Will become desirable:

  • If you change your name, or anyone mentioned in the Will changes theirs.
  • If an executor dies or becomes unsuitable to act due to age, ill-health, etc…
  • If a beneficiary dies.
  • If you have specifically bequeathed any property which you subsequently sell, or which changes its nature.
  • If you become divorced or remarry, or adopt a child.
  • If you wish at any time to REVOKE or ALTER your Will, you should consult your solicitor so that the legal formalities can be observed – otherwise your wishes may not take effect. This could also apply if your estate increases significantly in value.

Powers of Attorney

Two types of powers of attorney exist in Ontario: A Power of Attorney for Property, which will will allow the attorney (designated person) to manage your financial affairs including bank accounts, investments, real estate, other property, etc., subject to any restrictions you set out. These may be exercised at any time, but is generally intended to be used only if you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to, for example when you are travelling or otherwise unavailable.

The second type of power of attorney is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. This allows the attorney (designated person) to make decisions concerning your personal care and medical treatment options when you are no longer able to.

If there is no Power of Attorney, the Substitute Decisions Act does allow courts to appoint a guardian for property or for personal care. However, you will need to file an application to the court for and this can be a long and costly process if it is challenged by another party. Even where there is a dispute, your power of attorney may be used as evidence to the the court of your preferences concerning who should be the guardian.

Please contact us for more information.