If you have significant assets then protecting your family with proper estate planning is one of the most important legal or financial moves you will ever make. Without wills, trusts, and other estate planning vehicles your loved ones may not enjoy the future you’ve envisioned for them.
Estate planning is about more than death. As you get older you may lose the ability to care for yourself and your finances. Estate planning will determine who gets to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf. You should do this before your family can start fighting over it.
Failing to take these steps could mean losing a significant portion of your estate to taxes, estate litigation, and court fees. Let the team at Merchant Law help you meet your goals for your family’s future by selecting and setting up the appropriate estate planning vehicles for your situation.
Making a Will
A will is the most basic estate planning vehicle. It outlines your wishes for your funeral, for the care of your minor children, and for the division of your assets. When a lawyer builds your will you have the assurance that comes from knowing it’s a legally binding one.
You should update your will periodically as your life circumstances change. A will’s purpose is to provide provincial courts with clarity about how you intended to use your assets after your death. An out-of-date will offers no such clarity, and opens your heirs up to the possibility of a costly estate litigation suit.
Estate Planning Options
Wills are just one component of a well-designed estate plan. Trusts are a good way to make sure control of property passes directly to your beneficiaries, without the need for the estate to go into probate. There are several types, each specific to different situations and needs.
Life insurance policies are another fine estate planning vehicle, as are power of lawyer and adult guardianship documents.
Managing the potential tax implications and legal implications of your choices is one of the reasons why it’s so important to work with a skilled estate planning lawyer. Estate planning can quickly become complex. With our help, you can be sure that you’ve chosen the right strategy for your family.
What happens if you die without a will in Manitoba?
The court will appoint an administrator who will settle the estate, and your estate will pay that person’s fees. The court will then distribute your assets according to provincial law.
The Intestate Succession Act governs who will receive funds. Your current spouse and your natural born or adopted children will be first in line. Step children won’t be able to inherit. In some cases, the inheritance will go to distant relatives instead of to the people you would have preferred to see receive it.
The only way to make sure your wishes are honored is to go through the estate planning process in advance of your death. Since you can’t predict when your death will be, it is wise to do this as soon as you have any significant assets. If you have minor children then you should also do this, because otherwise the courts will appoint your child’s guardian.
Why Merchant Law?
We have a team of compassionate, experienced estate lawyers who are here to help you make the most of your estate planning. We listen closely, align our strategy with your goals, and make sure your heirs are protected.
Ready to get started? Contact us today.