The WILL Planning Process

Les & Michelle Kotzer

Les & Daughter, Michelle Kotzer

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The WILL Planning Process

Many readers have contacted us to inquire about the process involved in making a WILL with our Law firm. Firstly, we offer a Free WILL Consultation for those who do not have a WILL and are not sure where to start. We also offer a free WILL Review, if you have a WILL and are not sure if it is up to date. If you wish to make a new WILL, you can contact our office to set up an appointment. Generally, there will be two appointments necessary, one to discuss a WILL plan tailored to your particular life situation and the second appointment will be a signing appointment where we will explain every clause of your WILL and if you are satisfied, you will Sign in front of one us and our Legal Assistant.

When we refer to a WILL tailored to your particular situation, that is important. Many people believe that there is one WILL that fits all. This is not the case. Every life situation is different and requires its own unique plan. For example, a couple in a first marriage with young children have different needs from a single person with no children. Similarly, a couple in a first marriage will often plan differently from a couple in a second marriage, where each spouse has children ‘from a prior marriage or relationship.

If you have a child or grandchild who is on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), we will discuss the importance of setting up a “Henson Trust” in order to protect that child or grandchild’s Government Benefits. If that child is left your Estate outright as opposed to by way of a “Henson Trust”, there is a probability that your child will be cut off Government Benefits.

If you are excluding a child, your WILL planning will be different from a parent who is including all of his or her children.

If one or more of your Sons or Daughters are spendthrifts, your planning will likely be different from parents who have children who are very responsible with money. For example, many parents will set up a Trust in their WILL for the child who cannot handle money so that the money is protected and managed by your Executor, as-opposed to an outright gift of money to your child which allows that child to take his or her inheritance and waste it.

It is important to pay attention to the Executors you appoint in your WILL. For example, Parents with one adult child may have different will planning needs from a parent with young children under the age of majority. The parents who have children under the age of majority will have to find a back up Executor if both parents are deceased, to look after the Estate and monies for those children. On the other hand, the parent with the adult child may likely appoint the adult child who may end up being the Beneficiary of the entire Estate. If you have three or more children, you may consider including a “Majority Rule Clause” in your WILL when it comes to appointing Executors. That way, two out of the three of your children can make a decision as Executors, after you pass away. Alternately, you may decide not to appoint any of your children and instead appoint a neutral party.

In our initial WILL planning meeting, we will also discuss ways to minimize Probate Tax. We will discuss the implications of naming a Beneficiary on your Life Insurance, TFSA and RRSP or RIF.

You should also be aware that if you have married since your last WILL, marriage revokes your WILL.

We will also talk about the important Family Law Clause. Many WILLs’ that we review do not have this important clause. This clause stops your son-in-law or daughter-in-law from benefiting from the inheritance you leave your children, in case they separate or divorce after your death.

In the initial WILL planning meeting, we will discuss the importance of Powers of Attorney for financial and personal care matters. The Power of Attorney for property is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. This document stops the Government from stepping in, in the event you are unable to manage your assets. The Power of Attorney for property allows the person you appoint, your spouse, your child etc. to manage your assets in the event you are unable to do so yourself. On the personal care Power of Attorney, you will be appointing someone you trust, your spouse, your child etc. to look after you, in the .event you are unable to make personal care decisions yourself. Visit powerofattorneyinfo. com for more information.

Fish & Associates is located at 7951 Yonge Street (Yonge St. south of Hwy 7) in a turn of the century home with plenty of free parking. Michelle Kotzer can be reached by email at or telephone at (905) 881-1500 ext.22 and Les Kotzer ~ can be reached by email at or telephone at (905) 881-1500 ext. 19.

Please visit our websites or for more information. We speak in plain language. Fish & Associates has been protecting estates since 1973.