Wills and Estate Planning
Howard Nightingale Professional Corporation understands that the end of life of family members and friends are difficult times. Clients charged with the responsibility of looking after the affairs of the deceased struggle with grief while trying to think rationally about complex legal instruments that affect not only themselves but others as well. Part of being a lawyer is to provide our clients with as much peace of mind as we can through sound and competent legal advice along with attention to detail in executing all arrangements on their behalf. From inception to completion, Howard Nightingale ensures that wills and powers of attorney are concluded in the best interest of our clients.
To help you make an initial evaluation of your needs, please read the brief descriptions, below, of the key legal instruments available to you:
- Wills: A will can be simple or complex, depending on specific financial and family circumstances. The more intricate the situation is, the more is the need for legal consultation to achieve the necessary clarity and thoroughness required to realize the client’s wishes as set out in the will’s instructions.
- Dual Wills: Some clients can benefit from an instrument known as the dual will. This offers the possibility of setting aside certain assets such as securities which can be exempted from probate fees. In this way, the main will is focused only on those assets subject to the estate tax, effectively reducing the overall tax payable. For more information, please refer to double-or-dual-wills-how-to-reduce-probate-fees.
- Powers of Attorney: The basic concept of powers of attorney is to anticipate the possibility that at some point in the future the client might be unable to make on-going and necessary financial and medical decisions. In such a situation, the client will need a trusted person to make these decisions in the client’s best interest. While the concept is simple enough, there can be complications. Effective legal counseling, as provided by Howard Nightingale Professional Corporation can help anticipate and prepare for them.
- Estate Planning: The estate is the property owned by the client, or in which the client has a legal interest. Essentially, it refers to the remaining assets and liabilities after the client is deceased. Yes, the government will tax the estate’s assets, so planning is important. As well, estate planning will ensure that the estate is apportioned and distributed in accordance with the client’s wishes.
- Deed of Gift: A Deed of Gift allows the client, upon her or his death, to leave a valued possession to a specific person. It can apply to almost any possession – including art work and jewellery – and is available to anyone. It helps to simplify will and estate planning, and minimizes exposure to unnecessary probate fees. Best of all, it is a way to express love and generosity toward the intended recipient.
- Trusts: Trusts come in many shapes and sizes, but they fall into two main categories: 1) Testamentary trust, which is generally created on and as a result of the death of the donor; 2) Inter vivos trust, also known as a living trust, which is created by the donor during his or her lifetime. Each has its own unique features and benefits, and varies according to circumstances. We work closely with clients to help them determine which type of trust will best meet their needs.
- Henson Trust: Protecting a loved one with special needs
If you have a family member with special needs who is receiving benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), and you wish to leave that loved one an inheritance, you need to make special arrangements in your will in order for the ODSP benefits not to be discontinued. This can be arranged by setting up a Henson Trust. We have the specialized legal counsel to help with this.
Howard Nightingale has the knowledge and experience to protect you and your family, providing effective wills, powers of attorney, estate planning and administration, safeguarding you and your wishes.