Manitoba Estate Law
Estate Planning Lawyers in Winnipeg
Everyone can benefit from thoughtful estate planning, no matter your income level. Too many Canadians die without a will in place. 69% of Canadians between the ages of 35 to 44 do not have a will. About 49% of middle-aged Canadians, aged 45 to 54, don’t have one. And a whopping 34% of older Canadians between the ages of 55 and 64 don’t have a will.
Yet planning for the preservation, management, and distribution of assets in the event of death or disability is essential to securing your legacy and ensuring your family’s future stability. Having a will, and the documents needed to help make end-of-life decisions, can lessen the strain on your family at a difficult time and can provide for asset preservation and distribution according to your wishes. Dying without a will means that the laws of intestate succession take over. Don’t let the province of Winnipeg decide who gets what instead of you.
What Is Estate Planning in Manitoba?
Estate planning is a careful and thorough process that anticipates the transfer of property upon death or disability that incorporates family goals and composition, tax liability, business succession, funeral arrangements, charitable giving, and continuing to provide for your spouse and children. Estate planning creates a will, and sometimes trust agreements, along with a series of necessary documents to help your loved ones make end-of-life decisions on your behalf.
For high net worth clients, and even those with less, estate planning begins with a thorough inventory of assets and liabilities:
- real property: house, condominium, cooperative, or land
- personal property: jewelry, art, car, boat, furniture, books, and digital assets
- business ownership
- investments, bank accounts, and pensions
- insurance policies, if any
- liabilities such as outstanding debts, notes, or mortgages
Do You Need a Lawyer for Estate Planning?
A qualified estate planning lawyer knows how to take full advantage of Canadian and provincial probate and tax laws to secure your family’s future financial stability. A savvy estate planning lawyer has a combination of skills: knowledge about the law, financial literacy, and being a good counselor to help you identify your wishes and draft the documents needed to fulfill those wishes within the constraints of the law.
It’s a daunting task, considering your own death, and consulting with experts who know the legal complexities and nuances takes the onus off you.
A compassionate and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer will be able to listen and draft the necessary documents to carry out your wishes. Estate planning begins with an inventory of assets and then the questions begin.
- If you have minor children, who should you appoint to be their guardian in the event of your incapacity or death? Can this same person manage their emotional needs as well as manage the finances?
- Are there assets or possessions you want to give to specific family members or friends?
- Should any assets be available to family members or friends during your lifetime, or only upon your death?
- Are there any charities you want to support in your will or through a trust?
- Is minimizing income tax or probate costs part of your estate plan?
- Do you need a life insurance policy to cover capital gains or other income subject to income taxes?
- Do you want to transfer asset ownership through a trust, or by changing ownership now?
What Is a Trust Agreement in Estate Planning?
Trust agreements are divided into two categories: a living trust and a testamentary trust. A living trust is created while you are alive and competent and can be either revocable, which means the terms and control can be changed during your lifetime, or irrevocable, in which case the terms and control cannot be changed once they’re defined. In addition, a variety of trust types can be used to secure your estate planning wishes.
- Discretionary trusts: trustees determine the distribution of assets to beneficiaries
- Fixed interest trusts: the terms of the trust determine distribution of assets
- Alter ego trusts: for clients over the age of 65 to receive exclusive benefits of a trust during their lifetime
- Joint partner trusts: client and partner receive exclusive benefits of a trust during their lifetimes
- Testamentary spousal trusts: to benefit a surviving spouse or partner
- Family trusts: holds and protects assets for the beneficiaries, often used as part of a business succession plan
- Insurance trusts: can preserve and control the distribution of assets from a life insurance policy after death
Estate Taxes in Canada
There is no estate tax in Canada or in Winnepeg. Money received as part of an inheritance is not even reported as income to the beneficiaries. However, there are tax consequences to estate plans that need to be considered if you are a high net worth individual.
There is no gift tax in Canada or Winnepeg. You can freely gift assets to family and other beneficiaries during your lifetime or through a will. Those gifts are not considered taxable income to the beneficiaries.
However, knowing how to minimize future taxes depends on thoughtful estate planning now.
What If You Die Without an Estate Plan in Canada?
If you are survived by a spouse and children, the surviving spouse only gets 1/3 of the estate, with the remainder divided among the children. If you have no children or spouse, the estate gets divided up equally between your parents. If only one parent is alive, that parent gets the entire estate. If no parents are living, then that estate goes to any remaining siblings, or to their children.
What Are the Legal Documents Needed for Estate Planning?
An effective and inclusive estate plan depends on your inventory of assets and liabilities, and your family structure—spouse, children, immediate relatives. Most estate plans involve drafting a series of documents:
- Power of attorney
- Living will with instructions for end-of-life medical decisions
How to Create an Estate Plan in Canada
An estate plan begins with finding an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can work with your financial planner and accountant to secure your wishes and draft the appropriate documents.
Consider the estate planning lawyers at Visionary Law Corporation. Our estate lawyers strive to transform your wishes into effective documents at an affordable cost to you and your family. Learn more about our estate planning services now.
At different times during your life, the estate plan needs to be reassessed, especially as the governing laws might change as well as your family and financial situation.
It’s Time to Get Started
The estate planning lawyers at Visionary Law Corporation are waiting for you to request an initial consultation. Together we will evaluate your financial situation and suggest a plan that suits your wishes, your financial situation, and your family structure.
Request a 30 Minutes Free Initial Consultation
Please complete the form below to request a consultation with Visionary Law. We will contact you as soon as possible to schedule an office visit. Information shared with our office in this form and during our consultation is and will remain private and confidential.