Menear Worrad & Associates

Legal Team

Wills, Estates, and Trusts

Menear Worrad & Associates offers a full range of Estate services including the making of Wills, drafting Power of Attorney documents, assistance in formulating an overall Estate plan, the administration of an Estate in the event of death, establishing Trusts, and conducting court cases relating to these matters.  The Estate Team of Menear Worrad & Associates has more than 25 years of experience in the preparation of Estate documents, the provision of Estate administration services, and the handling of court cases involving Wills and Trusts.  Estate matters often arise in the context of difficult and complex personal and family relationships.  Our Team of lawyers is highly skilled and experienced in dealing not only with the legal issues, but also the social dynamics resulting from the same.  Furthermore, our knowledgeable and capable staff takes pride in the services and support they provide to our Estate clients.

Wills

Every adult should have a last Will and Testament.  This vital document appoints a spouse, family member, or friend to carry out the administration of one’s Estate in the event of death.  The person appointed (Trustee) is charged with carrying out the wishes and plans specified in the Will.  This document outlines the instructions and plan to be followed concerning the distribution of one’s assets and property, the payment of debts and taxes, donations to charities and community organizations, and even interment arrangements.  The Will document will result in your Estate being administered in a straightforward, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

The complexity of the Will document is directly related to the nature and extent of the assets and property comprising your Estate.  In most cases, a standard Will document will be sufficient to ensure the proper administration of your Estate.  In some cases, consideration will need to be given to more specialized Will provisions to deal with a cottage property, a trust for a disabled child, or a life interest in funds or property to benefit a loved one.  In other cases, additional Estate documents may be necessary to accomplish your Estate planning goals in relation to seasonal recreational property, the establishment of a family trust, or a corporate succession plan.  Whether your Estate is simple or complex, the Menear Worrad Estate Team is ready to provide you with the legal expertise and services you need.

Powers of Attorney

Completing Power of Attorney documents is no less important than having a Will.  A Power of Attorney for Property enables you to appoint a spouse, family member, or friend to carry out your express instructions and directions concerning the management of your assets and property during your life.  This document will allow the person(s) you appoint to assist you with the management of your financial affairs in the event of illness, disability, convalescence, hospitalization, and travel.  While you are capable of making decisions and giving instructions, your Attorney must carry out your directions.  In the event you lose mental capacity at any time, your Attorney must make decisions and manage your financial affairs in a manner consistent with your best interests.  Our Power of Attorney for Property document is specifically designed to allow you to provide for restrictions and to give special instructions relating to the management of your financial affairs.

While you are mentally competent, you are in charge of your own medical and health care decisions.  However, it may happen that an illness, disability, or accident causes a physical or mental impairment which prevents you from making these decisions.  A Power of Attorney for Personal Care enables you to appoint a spouse, family member, or friend to make such decisions in accordance with the wishes you have expressed and otherwise in your best interests.  Our Power of Attorney for Personal Care document enables you to describe the restrictions and special instructions that are important to you.

Estate Planning

There is more to the planning of your Estate than the making of a Will and Power of Attorney documents.  Careful consideration must be given to the nature and type of the property and assets you hold in order that there is a coordinated distribution plan in place at the time of your death.  On death, not all assets fall into your Estate to be governed by your Will.  RSPs, pensions, life insurance, and deferred investments can transfer directly to designated beneficiaries (without falling into your Estate to be governed by your Will).  However, there may be taxes payable by your Estate that are triggered when these transfers take place.  The Menear Worrad Estate Team is both knowledgeable and proficient in helping you coordinate your Estate plan.  In addition, it will work with your preferred financial institution, accountant, and financial advisor. 

Trusts

Special situations require special Estate tools.  If you desire to make provision in your Will for a disabled person, consideration must be given to a disability trust (Henson Trust) to ensure that government disability payments are not affected by the benefits the disabled person receives under your Will.  If you are a business owner, or have a significant shareholder’s interest in an operating corporation, consideration must be given to making a Corporate Will to avoid probate tax.  If you have high net worth, consideration must be given to the establishment of a family trust, charitable trust, or special purpose trust which can carry out long-term plans in a tax-advantageous manner.  You will find the Menear Worrad Estate Team conversant with these Estate planning tools, learned with respect to the options you need to consider, and able to help you make the right decisions to fulfill your Estate plan.

Estate Administration

When a person dies, the Will becomes effective.  The spouse, family member, or friend appointed in the Will assumes responsibility for the administration of the Estate.  This person(s) is known as an Estate Trustee.  The Estate Trustee must make Application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to be officially appointed to carry out the instructions and duties outlined in your Will.  The Application is accompanied by an inventory of the assets and property of your Estate with the payment of the appropriate Estate administration fee.  The Court appointment gives your Estate Trustee the authority needed to carry out those instructions and duties arising from your Will.  At the same time, your Estate Trustee is accountable to the Court for fulfilling the responsibilities in a competent manner in accordance with the standards outlined in the legislation.  Our Team will help your Estate Trustee complete the Application process and with finalizing the administration of your Estate.

Intestacy

If a person dies without a Will, they are said to have died “intestate.”  This means that there is no recognized plan for the distribution of their assets and property resulting from their death.  In such circumstances, a spouse, family member, or friend may make Application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to be appointed to administer the Estate of the deceased person.  Upon such an appointment, the Estate Trustee is charged with distributing the deceased’s assets and property in accordance with the scheme outlined in the Succession Law Reform Act (Ontario).  This Act outlines the order of descendants who will receive a portion of the estate and the amount that each is entitled to receive.  Our Team can make the appropriate Application and assist in the Estate administration that is required under the Succession Law Reform Act (Ontario).

Estate Litigation

There are many legal issues that can result from the death of an individual.  These issues may relate to the validity of the deceased’s last Will and Testament, the interpretation of Will provisions, the inclusion or exclusion of family members in the Estate distribution, whether property (such as bank accounts) fall into the Estate or belong to a survivor as indicated on the banking records, difficulties encountered in the administration of the Estate dealing with various financial institutions and government services, and the carrying out of the Estate Trustee’s responsibilities.  Any of these situations or occurrences may necessitate a court proceeding.  Court proceedings may also be required by unforeseen circumstances such as the discovery of a handwritten Will or a claim being made against the Estate by an unexpected individual or creditor.  The Menear Worrad Estate Team has the specialized litigation expertise to handle these types of litigation matters.

The lawyers and staff of the Menear Worrad Estate Team invite you to contact our office if you need advice or assistance with any of these Estate documents and services.