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Planning your estate and drafting a will may seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. We all agree it’s not pleasant, but it is important! It’s a good idea to work with a financial advisor that understands your situation both financially and personally.

Getting Started

When you’re thinking of getting started on your estate plan process, these are the three typical questions that consistently arise:

  • Do I need a lawyer, or can I use an online will planning kit?

  • How can I help my beneficiaries reduce the time delays and expenses of the probate process?

  •  How do I pick my executor?

Let’s take a look at each of these questions in more detail.

Do I need a lawyer, or can I use an online will planning kit?

The quick answer is no, you technically don’t need to retain a lawyer, as a properly witnessed hand-written will is a legal document. However, it can sometimes cause additional problems if not prepared correctly. The better answer is that you should hire a lawyer to draft up your will to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. This will also reduce the probability of your will being challenged if the instructions are not clear. It is also critical that you have both your powers of attorney for personal and property drafted at the same time, as these documents provide direction if you become incapacitated due to an accident or a change in health. Finally, it’s important to keep your will current, particularly if there are any life changes such as a divorce, retirement, addition or loss of assets, and so on. Once you have your will completed make sure your heirs know where it is, and who your executors and powers of attorney are.

How can I help my beneficiaries reduce the time delays and expense of the probate process?

Firstly, it’s important to define what probate is. In its most formal term, probate is the legal process for transferring your assets to your heirs. This will vary depending on which province you live in, as each has its own probate laws. Probate is also the public notice of death which lets creditors file claims against the estate if they have money owing to them. After creditors are paid, the remainder of the estate then goes to the beneficiaries. This process can often take 6 months to over a year and may also be subject to fees and expenses totalling thousands if not tens of thousands based on the size of the estate. With proper planning, certain assets can bypass the probate process altogether and the beneficiaries can receive the proceeds within a short time; as few as 10 business days. If you’d like to learn more about your options on your estate plan and the timeframe in which the proceeds being dispersed, give Darryl Smith a call at 705-434-0562.

How do I pick my executor?

Your executor is the person who has the legal responsibility to ensure that the wishes stated in your will are carried out. They are also the ones that ensure your assets are transferred properly and any bills, debts, and taxes get paid out. You want to have someone who is trustworthy, competent, and, ideally, lives in the same province to handle this important job. Make sure that you name your executor in your will, otherwise, if there isn’t someone named, the court will appoint a person who may not be the best fit for the task. As there is a fair amount of paperwork involved being an executor, you want someone who is organized, good with details and can manage basic finances.

Getting your affairs in order and drafting up your estate plan is considered an essential step in creating a strong financial foundation. Trust Darryl Smith to give you industry-leading financial advice and to help you create a well-thought-out, wealth-driven plan for your future.


Give him a call at 705-434-0562 and get your estate plan put into place today, so you and your family can rest assured tomorrow.

With the right plan, you can retire within 10 years.

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