The Importance of Wills

Wills pic

Every time I get a phone call from a client who wants me to write a Will for them, I tend to hear a sense of trepidation in their voice.  Wills can be an unpleasant topic to talk about because it acknowledges our mortality.  However, we all know death is inevitable, and the best course of action we could possibly take when the time comes is to allocate our estate to loved ones or to causes we believe in. 

One of the biggest differences between Canadian jurisdictions and some other countries is the reliance upon Wills. In Canadian jurisdictions, Wills are almost essential to help administer your estate after you die. By creating a Will today, you could be saving your loved one's stress, headaches, and expenses.  Here are reasons why having a Will is likely going to benefit you and your loved ones in the long term. 

1.  A Will allows you to plan for the care of your surviving minor children.

Having a plan for a guardian ready to be enacted could prevent a lot of stress and anxiety for yourself and your minor children.  A Will could ensure that a person you trust is entrusted with the responsibility of raising your children instead of creating a custody battle.

2. Wills are among the most common ways to transfer assets to the people you want to inherit them.

A Will does not create claims against your assets until you die. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will remain in control of your assets until the moment you die. Moreover, you have the power to change or revoke your Will at any time while you are still alive and mentally competent.  Nevertheless, transferring assets through a Will could have more taxes associated with the transfer than transfers of assets while you are still alive.  Thus, it is important to see a lawyer for your estate planning needs.

3.  A Will lets you decide who will end up dealing with the affairs of your estate.

The executor handles the affairs of your estate after your death including paying taxes, cancelling various accounts, and providing your beneficiaries with their inheritance. Due to the important nature of the role of the executor, you could appoint a single executor or multiple executors to ensure that your last wishes are fulfilled. You should also know, you could even appoint a professional executor if it is necessary.

Are you ready to plan ahead and determine who has the right to your assets after you pass on?  For further questions or to set up a free 30 minute consultation to see how I can help, give me a call my office at 647-295-1656.

Immigration Law: Travel Consent Letters

Travel Consent Letters

For any parent, the prospect of being separated from their child is an anxious one.  This anxiety is only exacerbated if your child is travelling without you, even in situations where your child is travelling with his or her other parent or legal guardian.  Knowing your child is equipped with a Travel Consent Letter may relieve some anxiety.  Below is some key information about Travel Consent Letters for when your child is travelling from and returning to Canada. 

Travel Consent Letters are used to show that a Canadian child has permission to travel internationally without his or her parent, parents, legal guardian, or legal guardians as the case may be.

Though Travel Consent Letters are not a formal legal requirement in Canada, they could be requested by foreign immigration officials when entering or leaving foreign countries.  Further, Canadian officials could also request them when the child is re-entering Canada.

Before writing a Travel Consent Letter it is useful to look at some templates.  The Government of Canada Template can be found at the following link:

It is also wise to visit the government websites (such as the embassy website) of the foreign country where the child is travelling to.  Sometimes these sites could contain information about the foreign jurisdiction’s requirements for the Travel Consent Letter.

Finally, here are two tips which could potentially simplify your child’s border crossing experience:

1.       Having the Travel Consent Letter in English and in the official language of the country which your child is visiting could make it easier for the foreign immigration officials to read.

2.       In Canada, it is wise to have your child’s Travel Consent Letter witnessed by an official who has the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration (such as a lawyer) to add credibility to the letter.