Wills, Estate Planning & Trusts

Standard Wills

Most people just need a Standard Will.

A pair of Standard Wills for a Married or Common Law couple includes the following:

  • If you die before your spouse, your Will names your spouse as your Executor and gives your entire Estate to your spouse.
  • If you and your spouse died at the same time, or you die last, your Will names an Executor (and a back up Executor if desired) to look after your Estate and divides your Estate equally among your children.
  • If you have young children, your Will includes the appointment of a Guardian to look after your children.
  • Trust terms for young children and other young beneficiaries are included in all Wills.
  • Your Will can also say who you want to receive your estate in the event you and your spouse do not have any children or grandchildren who outlive you (often referred to as a "disaster clause").

A Standard Will for a Single person includes the following:

  • Your Will names an Executor (and a back up Executor if desired) to look after your Estate and divides your Estate equally among your children.
  • If you have young children, your Will can include the appointment of a Guardian to look after your children.
  • Trust terms for young children and other young beneficiaries are included in all Wills.
  • Your Will can also say who you want to receive your estate in the event you do not have any children or grandchildren who outlive you (often referred to as a "disaster clause").

Process for Making a Will

Preparing a Standard Will usually involves two appointments.

At the the first appointment you will will meet with the lawyer to discuss your circumstances and wishes and any questions you have about Estate Planning, Wills, Probate, etc. The lawyer will discuss estate planning with you and may recommend changes to the way you own your assets (for example putting your vehicles and bank accounts into joint names with your spouse and naming your spouse as beneficiary of your life insurance etc.). The lawyer will also collect the information required in order to prepare a Will for you. The lawyer will also discuss incapacity planning (Enduring Power of Attorney & Representation Agreements) with you at the first meeting.

We will prepare a draft of your Will and mail it to you within two weeks of your first appointment. We request that you carefully review your documents and contact us to discuss any changes you require.

There is a second appointment to review and sign up your Will.

To help us serve you better, please print and complete a New Will Customer Information form and bring it to your first appointment.

New Will Customer Information form - Single

New Will Customer Information form - Married or Common Law

Non-Standard Wills

Some clients need or want more than a Standard Will. Some examples of situations that require more than a Standard Will are:

  • Blended families: If either spouse has one or more children from a previous relationship.
  • Spouses acting individually: If you have a spouse but you want to make a Will without your spouse's involvement.
  • Disabled beneficiaries: If a disabled person will be receiving part of your estate.
  • Complicated distribution: If you don't want your estate divided equally among your children as in a Standard Will.
  • Complicated assets: If you own an asset together with anyone other than your spouse. For example if you own a share of your child's house or you have a business partner.
  • If you want to disinherit a child.
  • If you want a Trust Company or other professional trustee to be your Executor.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the process of making sure that your assets pass to your family and other beneficiaries on your death the way you want with a minimum of stress and effort on the part of those you leave behind while minimizing taxes and the potential for disputes. For most clients Estate Planning involves making a Will and reviewing your assets (how they are owned and who you have named as beneficiary of your life insurance/RRSP, etc.).

Estate Planning can be more complex and require purchasing additional life insurance, transferring assets, restructuring a family business, setting up trusts (note that Standard Wills include a trust for any young beneficiaries), etc.

We include Estate Planning advice with every Will we prepare. We will review your assets with you and advise you about steps you can take to improve your estate planning. This advice often has the potential to save your family thousands of dollars in legal costs and tax after you are gone and occasionally save you thousands of dollars towards your retirement.

We can help you whether your circumstances and wishes are simple or complex.

Download our Estate Planning Guide

Trusts

A Trust is an arrangement where an asset is held by someone on behalf of another. A Trust can be created by your Will on your death (known as a "Testamentary Trust") or by you directly during your lifetime (known as an "Intervivos Trust").

Some examples of the use of Trusts:

  • All standard Wills anticipate the possibility that a beneficiary of your estate (child or granchild, etc.) could be under the age of 19 or financially irresponsible at the time you die. Your Will states that the beneficiay's share of your estate is held in trust for them by your Executor until they are old enough to receive it (age 19 or an older age you choose). The money held in trust is available for the beneficiaries needs as they grow up and the balance is paid out to them at the specified age.
  • If you have a disabled child, your Will should include a long term discretionary trust to protect the child's inheritance and avoid termination of government disability benefits.
  • Your Will could specify that certain assets are held in trust for the use of your spouse during her/his lifetime but be preserved for your children or grandchildren who will receive the assets upon your spouse's death.
  • You can protect assets from future creditors by transfering them into a trust during your lifetime.
  • A trust can be used to protect a child's inheritance from a possible marriage failure or bankruptcy.
  • A trust can be used to preserve a cottage or other family property for future generations.
  • Some business owners transfer shares of their business corporation to a family trust in order to split income with their spouse and children.
  • There are many tax saving and esate planning strategies utilizing trusts.

 

 

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Dwayne Pommer Law
250-564-5300 ph 1-866-333-9455 toll free 1-866-342-9586 fax (local & out of town)
#103-530 Central Street East, Prince George, BC, V2M3B7