Speaker offers advice about wills, estates and taxes
Our guest speaker, David Willer, a partner in the law firm Sullivan Mahoney in St. Catharines delivered a spirited talk touching on many subjects related to wills and estates.
David pointed out that the key goals in estate planning are to leave your assets to the proper person and to avoid, as much as possible, paying taxes He said that a will speaks to the time of death no matter when it was actually written so that it is important to keep your will updated so that it reflects your current situation. He advised that anyone preparing a will should be aware of potential tax implications. As an example he said that if property or a business was left to one survivor and cash was left to another any taxes owning would come out of the cash portion of the estate.
David said that a spouse is generally named as an executor but it is wise to pick an alternate and that should be someone who has knowledge of your affairs. Because of certain legal requirements, it is best to avoid naming an executor who lives outside the province.He pointed out that an executor has a great deal of responsibility and not everyone may wish to do it. The executor must determine if there is a need to probate the will. If the estate is being transferred to a surviving spouse or beneficiaries are named, probate and the taxes that go with it, can probably be avoided. Probate can also be avoided if there is a joint tenant of a bank account or home ownership. David touched on new provincial legislation that requires paper work being submitted to the province to establish true value on certain possessions.
While taking numerous questions from the floor, David pointed out that there are two different types of power of attorney. One is for personal care and applies only when the person in question is still alive. The second type is for property and allows the appointed person to sign documents for some-one who is unable to because of health issues.
Our speaker at \our October meeting will be Steve Gill from Niagara College. He will be talking about the college’s winery, brewery, distillery and cidery programmes.