November has drawn to a close and, with it, the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and the Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) Make-a-Will Month program, where estate professionals are connected with the community to help them understand the importance of having a will and powers of attorney.

In presenting at one of the Make-a-Will Month sessions, the need for this initiative was readily apparent. I was met with a high level of attendee participation and a myriad of questions about wills and powers of attorney. The following information seemed particularly helpful to impart:

Wills

  • The benefits of making a will, including having control over your choice of executor, tax minimization, protecting assets from creditors, providing for charitable gifts and allowing for staggered entitlement to ensure beneficiaries don’t prematurely spend their inheritance;
  • The consequences of not having a will, including the inflexible entitlement scheme under the Succession Law Reform Act and the unwanted impact this could have in situations where, for instance, you would not want to benefit relatives equally or immediately upon your death (e.g. spouses are separated, immediate family members are estranged, and intestate beneficiaries are minors); and
  • The elements of a will, how to revoke it and the grounds upon which to challenge its validity.

Powers of Attorney

  • The different types of powers of attorney a grantor may select (e.g. springing, enduring, limited and general); and
  • The difficulties that may be caused by not having a power of attorney in place, including the costly and potentially protracted process of pursuing a guardianship appointment.

I was so pleased to participate in the Make-a-Will Month program, and applaud the continuing efforts of the OBA and TPL to share vital information with the public.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Natalia Angelini

Some other blogs on related subjects are:

November is “Make a Will Month”

Make Estate Planning One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

When to Make a Codicil