You’ve worked hard all your life to create a better life for yourself and your family. You want to make sure your family is cared for and comfortable after you’re gone, and that means leaving an inheritance they can count on.
That means having a legally binding will and an estate plan that sees to it that your wishes are known and respected after your death. Reach out to the team at Merchant Law to get solid legal guidance that helps you meet all of your estate planning goals.
Can you keep an estate out of probate?
In Saskatchewan a will only has to go to probate if there is real property involved, and there are estate planning vehicles that can help you avoid it. Your estate may also go into probate if you die intestate, or without a will.
Probate isn’t all bad. It can legitimize an executor’s authority to administer your estate, for example, which can smooth that executor’s path when dealing with creditors and beneficiaries alike. It also creates legal protections on your estate, and forces claimants to step up within six months or forever hold their peace.
Yet it also comes with hefty court fines and fees which are deducted from the estate’s assets, which mean fewer assets for your family. Dying without a will also means the court decides how your assets are divided, according to certain legal formulas, which means you don’t get a chance to make decisions about where those assets should go.
Dying Without a Will
When you die without a will your assets are divided according to the plan set out by the Intestate Succession Act.
The first $100,000 of your estate goes to your current spouse. The next ½ of the remainder goes to your spouse, and 2/3rds are divided up equally among your children. If your child was an only child they get ½ of the remainder.
This can obviously cut out any step children you have raised as your own, if you did not take the time to legally adopt them.
If you have no spouse or children then grandchildren are next, followed by parents, siblings, nephews or nieces, next-of-kin, creditors and the administrator himself/herself.
This can mean, essentially, that your assets go to strangers after you die. It precludes you from leaving any part of your estate to charity. It may mean family members you barely speak to get everything, while your most cherished family members get nothing.
It is vital for you to have an up-to-date and legally binding will.
Better Estate Planning
There are better vehicles for your estate planning needs, ones that can keep your estate out of probate even when there is land involved. For example, you can set up trusts that effortlessly hold the land for your heirs while passing control of it over to them after your death.
Estate planning includes having a will, but is so much more than a will. It will ultimately consider end-of-life care, power of lawyer documents, and tax implications. The more assets you have the more skill you’ll need out of the lawyer who helps you through this process.
Why Merchant Law?
We’re a team of highly skilled estate planning lawyers who are ready to craft solutions for you. We are responsive and listen to your needs, hopes, and thoughts on your future.
Get started today by contacting our office for a consultation.