wills ottawa estate planning

Life Insurance and Estates: FAQs

life insurance estate planningLife insurance can sometimes be a large part of an estate. Quite understandably, the estate planning clients that I meet with at my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa as well as the executors (also called estate trustees) have a lot of questions about life insurance. Here are a few of those questions:

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estate planning executor non-resident

I want to name my son as executor but he isn’t a resident of Canada…Is this a problem?

estate planning executor non-residentI recently met with Gerta (not her real name) at my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa to discuss her estate planning. Gerta was widowed and had two children, a son that lived in Poland and a daughter living in Ottawa. Gerta told me that she wished to appoint her son as executor of her Will as she felt he was more suited to the job than her daughter.
I explained to Gerta that although she could name her son as executor (also called an ‘estate trustee’), it could result in considerably more cost and delay for her estate.

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estate planning will

Should I Have Two Wills?

estate planning willThe Ontario government recently brought into force new regulations that change how it deals with estate administration tax (commonly known as probate fees). As of January 1st, 2015, an executor (or estate trustee) is required to complete and file an Estate Information Return (EIR) with the Ontario Ministry of Finance.  This is in addition to the court Application for a Certificate of Estate Trustee (commonly known as probate).
If an executor fails to file the EIR or if the executor files the EIR and is audited and found to have made “false or misleading statements” on the EIR, the executor is liable, on conviction, to a fine of at least $1,000 plus up to twice the estate administration tax that was not paid. Imprisonment of not more than two years is also possible. Audits can occur up to four years after the court Certificate has been issued.

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wills lawyer ottawa estate administration tax probate

What is the Estate Administration Tax? How Can It Be Avoided?

estate administration tax probateIn most cases, an Executor (now called an Estate Trustee) cannot deal with the assets of a deceased person without the formal authority to do so.  The Estate Trustee will not have this authority until he or she has been granted a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (previously referred to as ‘probate’). This is a document issued by the court.  It is obtained by submitting an Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee to the court along with a certified cheque or bank draft to pay the required estate administration tax (previously referred to as ‘probate fees’).

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executor estate trustee duties

Help….I’m acting as an executor and I don’t know where to start. What should I do first?

executor estate trustee dutiesAt times, acting as an executor, or more properly an ‘estate trustee’, can be overwhelming. Many of the clients that I meet at my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa feel that this is especially true in the beginning.  In the weeks following the deceased’s death, the work required of an executor is the most labour-intensive. This feeling of being overwhelmed can also be compounded by the fact that the executor may be mourning the loss of a loved one and is probably doing a job that he or she has never done before.
With a seemingly endless number of tasks to be done at the beginning, it is often difficult for an executor to know where to begin. Here is a list of tasks that an executor should make a priority:

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executor estate trustee record keeping

Good Record-Keeping A Must For Executors

executor estate trustee record keepingActing as an executor (also called an ‘estate trustee’) is a big job and comes with a lot of duties and responsibilities. When I meet with executors at my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa, I stress that one of the most important duties of an executor is to keep detailed records and receipts of all transactions involving the estate. This includes a detailed list of the assets of the deceased and the values of those assets on the date of death.
Good record-keeping is important for a number of reasons:

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estate executor compensation

Executor Compensation FAQs

 estate executor compensationAs we focus exclusively in the area of wills and estates at our law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa, we meet with a lot of people who have been appointed as executor (formally called an ‘estate trustee’) of a loved one’s estate. Many executors aren’t sure whether they can be paid and, if they can, how much and when. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked by executors about executor compensation.

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estate planning lawyer stittsville

I’ve been appointed as executor of my grandfather’s estate….I’m wondering, how long will it take?

estate administration how longFew of us are familiar with how long the administration of an estate can take.  People are surprised to learn that it generally takes an executor (more formally known as an “estate trustee”) a year to a year and a half to administer and wind up even a simple estate … longer if the estate is complex or there are assets in other jurisdictions or there are unexpected problems.

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executor estate trustee duties

I’ve been named as an executor….What am I getting into?

executor estate trustee dutiesI recently met with Ryan at my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa. His aunt had died suddenly from a heart attack and her Will named him as executor (officially called ‘estate trustee’). Ryan and other nieces and nephews were named as beneficiaries.
Ryan said his friends and colleagues had warned him that being an executor is not easy and can take a lot of time. Although he wanted to honour his aunt’s wish that he act as executor, he worked full time and had two small children at home. He wasn’t sure he had the time or energy to take on the job.
Ryan is not alone. The first thing most executors want to know is exactly what they are getting themselves into.

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