Safeguard Your Family’s Future

Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP understands that few things are more personal than your will. With years of experience helping individuals plan for their family’s future, our wills and estates lawyers in Surrey, Langley and throughout the Fraser Valley help clients feel confident and secure that their wishes will be followed.

 

Wills and Estates

wills and estates legal helpIn addition to a will, there are two other documents you should consider: a power of attorney and a representation agreement can help complete your estate plan. While a will governs your affairs after your death, a power of attorney guides your affairs while you are alive if, for some reason, you are unable to manage them on your own. A representation agreement (many call it a living will) defines how you wish to be treated if you are catastrophically injured or have a terminal illness. This document can provide you with dignity at a time when you may not be able to express yourself. There is often an estate planning component to will preparation which can include tax implications. In collaboration with your accountant, contact our wills and estates lawyers at Dreyer Davison and let us attend to your estate planning needs.

 

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Estate Planning For Your Family’s Future

Information Regarding Standard Wills

Many people in Surrey and Langley decide to prepare a standard will.

A mirror of standard wills for a married or common-law couple includes the following:

If you die before your spouse, your will names your spouse as your executor and gives your entire estate to your spouse.

If you and your spouse were to die at the same time or you outlive your spouse, your will names an executor (and also names a backup executor if desired) to look after your estate and divides your estate equally among your children.

If you have young children, your will includes the appointment of a guardian to look after them.

Trust terms for young children and other young beneficiaries are included in all wills.

Your will can also say who you want to receive the estate in the event you and your spouse do not have any children or grandchildren who outlive you (often referred to as “a disaster clause”).

A standard will for a single person includes the following:
Your will names an executor (and a backup executor if desired) to look after your estate and divides your estate equally among your children.

If you have young children, your will can include the appointment of a guardian to look after your children.

Trust terms for young children and other young beneficiaries are included in the will.

Your will can also appoint the person you want to receive your estate in the event you do not have any children or grandchildren who outlive you (often referred to as “a disaster clause”).

The Process of Making a Will

Dreyer Davison’s wills and estates preparation lawyers in Surrey, Langley and beyond can usually prepare a standard will in just two appointments.

During your initial appointment, you’ll meet with a lawyer in person to discuss your specific concerns and wishes. Your lawyer will help answer any questions you may have regarding estate planning, the specifics of your will or probate matters.

At the first appointment, you will meet with the lawyer to discuss your circumstances and wishes and any questions you have about estate planning, wills or probate. The lawyer will discuss estate planning matters with you and may suggest a few changes to how you own your assets (for example, it might be advantageous to put your vehicle titles and bank accounts into joint names and naming your spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy). Your lawyer will have a few questions for you to best prepare your will and discuss incapacity planning options (including enduring power of attorney assignations as well as representation agreements).

After this, Dreyer Davison Lawyers will prepare a draft of your will and mail it to your home within two weeks of your first appointment. Once you receive the draft, we suggest you carefully review its contents, compile any questions you may have and contact us to discuss any changes you may need.

At the second appointment, if you’ve reviewed it and are completely satisfied, you can sign your will.

Preparing a Non-Standard Will

For some clients, a standard will may not be enough. In these circumstances, our team recommends a non-standard will. There are many occasions and situations that may require a non-standard will, including:
Having a blended family where either spouse has one or more children from a previous relationship

Spouses acting individually where either spouse wants to make a will without the other’s involvement if a disabled person will be named the beneficiary of your estate if you don’t want your estate divided equally among your children as is the usual outcome of a standard will if you own an asset together with anyone other than your spouse, for example if you own a share of your child’s house or if you have a business partner if you wish to disinherit a child, if you want a trust company or other professional trustee to be your executor.

Estate Planning in the Fraser Valley

By planning your estate with Dreyer Davison’s family Lawyers in Langley, BC and beyond, you can be certain that your assets will pass to your family and other beneficiaries after your passing. Proper estate planning can minimize your loved ones’ stress and effort and reduce potential taxes and the possibility for disputes. For most clients, estate planning includes preparing a will and reviewing your assets (reviewing how they are owned and who you have appointed as your life insurance/RRSP beneficiary).

For some clients, estate planning grows more complex and may include purchasing additional life insurance, transferring your assets, restructuring your family’s business, establishing a trust (please note that standard wills include a trust for any young beneficiaries) and many other matters.

We include estate planning advice with every will we prepare. Together, we’ll review your assets and counsel you on how to improve every aspect of your estate planning. This advice can save your family thousands of dollars in legal costs and taxes following your death and possibly also help you save thousands for your own retirement.

Whether simple or complex, Dreyer Davison Lawyers can facilitate all of your estate planning needs.

Establishing a Trust

A trust is an arrangement wherein an asset is held by someone on behalf of another person. A trust can be created by your will upon your death (this is known as a “testamentary trust”) or by you while you live (known as an “intervivos trust”).

Some examples of these trusts can include:
All standard wills anticipate the possibility that a beneficiary of your estate (child or grandchild or someone else) could be under the age of 19 or financially irresponsible at the time you die. Your will states that the beneficiary’s share of your estate is held in trust for them by your executor until they are old enough to receive it (age 19 or at an older age of your choosing). The money held in trust is available for the beneficiaries’ needs as they grow and the balance is paid out to them at the specified age.

If you have a disabled child, your will should include a long term discretionary trust to protect the child’s inheritance and avoid termination of government disability benefits.

Your will could specify that certain assets are held in trust for your spouse to use during his or her lifetime but be preserved for your children or grandchildren who will receive the assets upon your spouse’s death.
You can protect assets from future creditors by transferring them into a trust during your lifetime.

A trust can be used to protect a child’s inheritance from a possible marriage failure or bankruptcy.

A trust can be used to preserve a cottage or other family property for future generations.

Some business owners transfer shares of their business corporation to a family trust in order to split income with their spouse and children.
There are many tax-saving and estate planning strategies that utilize trusts.

Details of Estate Litigation

It is all too common for an estate to end up in litigation. There can be many causes, including claims under the Wills Variation Act. A sensitive approach is required to these lawsuits as family relationships are often at risk. Dreyer Davison Wills and Estates Lawyers have experience in dealing with these sensitive matters. Let us help.

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