Tag: law times
The Ontario Bar Association (“OBA”) has once again designated November as “Make a Will Month”. Approximately 56% of Canadians do not have a will. This issue first arose in a 2012 LawPRO survey and has been confirmed as an ongoing concern according to a CIBC survey in August 2015.
Furthermore, according to this article in the Law Times, the percentage of lawyers who do not yet have wills is about the same as in the general population. According to Jordan Atin, many of the factors that might discourage someone from taking the time to make a will, apply equally to lawyers. Among the various factors, the most obvious is the perception that making a will is a long, complicated process and that having that conversation is not an easy thing to do.
However, the estate planning process does not have to be something awful. Mr. Atin’s experience is that clients almost always feel relieved after they finally make their will. Despite the time and potential stress involved in the will-making process, the peace of mind that will come afterward should serve as a motivating factor.
This year’s “Make a Will Month” may be even more important than it has been in the past. Notwithstanding the fact that everyone should have a will regardless of the month, as of January 1, 2016, there will be some changes to the rules governing testamentary trusts, as has been discussed on this blog before . Going forward, tax treatment of testamentary trusts will be much different than in the past. Graduated Rate Estates (GREs) will no longer be available for testamentary trusts that continue past the first three years following a testator’s death. There will also be a shift in responsibility for income tax to a surviving spouse’s estate rather than a deceased spouse’s estate.
If you have not already made your will, consider participating in the OBA’s “Make a Will Month”, as well as seeking advice with respect to the upcoming changes to the rules.
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This week on Hull on Estates, Moira Visoiu and Josh Eisen discuss a recent article published in the Law Times describing the trend toward the use of advanced computing technology to answer difficult legal questions and how this might be applicable in the context of estate litigation.
Should you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com or leave a comment on our blog.
Click here for more information on Moira Visoiu.
Click here for more information on Josh Eisen.
John Hunt wrote an article titled “Get a financial strategy now” in the January 8, 2007 issue of Law Times, discussing the uncomfortable situation faced by many lawyers of spending a high proportion of their income in the face of the possibility of a pension-free retirement. He suggests that lawyers need extra focus on financial planning.
The article reminded me of how many lawyers I have met who have no Will, some of whom even practice in the Wills and Estates area. In some cases, they have estate plans that do not require a Will, such as holding all assets in joint ownership, but even so, there is a risk of problems with changing assets and financial profile, sentimentally valuable personal property and overlooked assets.
Coming up with an estate plan inevitably involves the contemplation of an uncomfortable certainty: one’s demise. This prospect is as unpleasant to lawyers as it is to anyone else. In the result, many lawyers are just as vulnerable to procrastination as laypersons when it comes to estate planning. They also risk all the same problems and risks of mayhem involved in dying without a Will.
Hopefully the “do as I say and not as I do” approach by lawyers to will planning is less prevalent than my experience suggests – Maybe I only run into the exceptions that prove the rule.
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