Introduction to Estate and Substitute Decision Planning

2 Minute Read 

There is a lot more to estate planning than simply creating a Will or Power of Attorney.

In today’s article, we outline all of the possible components that can be included within an estate and substitute-decision plan. In combination, these various components can work together to ensure our wishes are fulfilled during our lifetime, such as in the event of incapacity, and/or after our death.


The primary purpose of an estate plan is to (1) protect your assets and interests, (2) ensure your wishes are fulfilled both during your lifetime and after, and (3) appoint your choice of estate trustee or representative to speak on your behalf. A well-crafted estate plan can also help you minimize taxes and fees, and mitigate potential disputes in the future.


Estate and Substitute Decision planning can include the following components:

WILL

A legal document that outlines who you would like to appoint as your executor and how and where you would like your assets to be distributed after death.

POWER OF ATTORNEY

A legal document that lets you appoint someone to make personal care and/or property/financial decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapable of making those decisions yourself.

TRUSTS

A legal arrangement that allows individuals to transfer assets to a trustee for the ultimate benefit of a beneficiary.

INCAPACITY PLANNING

Planning that focuses on the periods of incapacity such as appointing a substitute decision-maker(s) and creating advanced care directives.

BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS

The designation of beneficiaries to certain assets like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts upon your death.

TAX PLANNING

Planning that focuses on minimizing taxes payable by your estate upon its administration.

BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING

Planning that strategizes the transfer of business interests and the continuity of a business after the death of a business owner.

PLANNING FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Planning tailored to the needs of individuals with disabilities or for those who are supporting individuals with disabilities.

CHARITABLE PLANNING

Planning that incorporates charitable giving to non-profit causes and organizations in the form of bequests, charitable trusts, gifts of property, and naming charities as beneficiaries.

ADVANCED CARE DIRECTIVES (LIVING WILLS)

Planning that outlines your healthcare preferences for your end-of-life care, which may include your instructions on life-sustaining treatments, palliative care, organ donation, and other medical preferences.


Estate and Substitute-Decision Planning is an ongoing process. You should aim to review and update your plans every couple of years as life changes may necessitate revisions. Having up-to-date plans can ensure a smooth and efficient estate administration process for your loved ones and that your substitute decision-making wishes are fulfilled.

The lawyers at Sweatman Law have over 30 years of experience in estate and substitute decision planning. Contact us here to get started!


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DISCLAIMER: This blog post should not be interpreted as legal advice for your specific situation, concerns, or challenges. All estate plans are unique and should be reviewed by legal, financial, and health professionals, and tax accountants. Please be advised that the information on this website relates to laws specific to Ontario or Canadian federal law. Legal advice, procedure, and legislature may vary in different jurisdictions.

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