Essential Tools for Wills and Estate Planning
According to a recent survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, half of Canadians do not have a will, and Make a Will Month/Week is a prime opportunity for lawyers to raise public awareness about the significance of having an accurate, up-to-date will.
Canadians who participated in the study gave many reasons for not having a will, including time, cost, and not wanting to think about dying. Nonetheless, end-of-life planning is essential and legal professionals should advise their clients on the benefits of outlining a plan for their estate and making a legal will. This article on how to talk to your Canadian clients about wills and estate planning is an excellent resource for lawyers. It gives practical insights on when to bring up the conversation, highlights specific categories of Canadians who need wills, and points to crucial tools for will creation estate planning.
Effective estate planning involves more than just creating wills. Ensuring these wills are registered and stored correctly is equally important. Furthermore, will executors are required by law to send notices to creditors before administering wills. In line with our commitment to being a comprehensive practice management partner for legal professionals, Dye & Durham offers two essential platforms ─ Canada Will Registry and NoticeConnect ─ to help you carry out these functions effectively and efficiently.
The Canada Will Registry contains the largest repository of wills, powers of attorney and estate planning documents in Canada. It is a robust platform that allows law firms and individuals to register wills and estate planning documents in a single online database.
- Anyone who has a will
- Anyone who administrates wills and needs to find the latest information
- Will providers who want to include registration services to their customers
Estate planning documents are often prepared years before they’re needed. Lawyers retire, law firms close, and people move. When a family can’t find a will, the law presumes it was revoked. Without a will, the estate will be distributed according to government stipulations rather than the owner’s wishes. Also, copies of wills are not legally binding; therefore, executors need original documents. Attempting to probate a copy of a will is an expensive and highly uncertain court procedure.
To mitigate this, the Canada Will Registry serves two functions:
- Wills registration: Allows for registration and updating of wills and estate planning documents so they can be retrieved easily when needed.
- Wills search: Allows you to search for the latest will. As a lawyer or estate administrator, ensuring you have the most recent will and estate documents ensures your client’s wishes are honoured. Searching through the Canada Will Registry also protects you from liability, as you receive a certificate as proof of due diligence. We offer two types of search options:
- Standard: Searches registered wills in the database for the last known legal will of the person being searched.
- Professional: This is the broadest type of search. In addition to the wills registered with the Canada Will Registry, this option also searches for unregistered wills with subscribers to our mailing list, law libraries and other partners.
- Expansive Database: We partner with popular third-party will services, like Willful and LegalWills, to enable automatic registration of wills created on their platforms. This further enriches our database of registered wills and provides estate trustees and will executors access to the largest wills registry in Canada.
- Virtual Vault: When you register wills on the platform, you get a free virtual vault where all your wills, powers of attorney, RA’s, PD’s, EPA’s, and other signed documents can be stored on behalf of your clients and accessed from anywhere and at any time. You also receive automatic notifications when someone searches for your client’s will, so you no longer have to check obituaries constantly.
- Enhanced Privacy: All data on the Canada Will Registry is encrypted and stored in Canada in one of the world’s top data centres. Additionally, the privacy of registrants is fully protected. When someone searches for a will you registered, you will receive a notification with the contact details of the searcher. You have 30 days to respond to the request if you deem it appropriate. The searcher does not receive any information about the identity of the will registrant.
- Cost Effective: The current price for individual will registration is a one-time price of $40, while the price of searches varies, depending on the type of search Bundle prices are also available to offer even more savings opportunities.
- Register: Individuals register their will with the Canada Will Registry by telling us who they are and where their will is located. This information is kept confidential and is not made public.
- Search: After someone dies, their family or lawyer submits a Search Query with the Canada Will Registry. We send them a certificate for their records, confirming that they took appropriate steps to look for a will. They do not see the direct results of their search.
- Connect: If a Search Query matches a registered will, we alert the owner of the matched will and their executor (in case the owner has died) that someone is looking for the will, and we provide contact details for them to reach out to the searcher if and only if the searcher is entitled to know about it.
NoticeConnect is a revolutionary online platform that streamlines the process of publishing estate notices to creditors. It offers a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional newspaper advertisements, reaches a broader audience, and fulfills all legal requirements in some provinces. With NoticeConnect, estate executors and trustees can effortlessly manage estate notice publication, ensuring compliance and reducing administrative burden.
- Lawyers who handle wills & estates
- Anyone who is an executor/trustee
- Broad Audience Reach: Publishing notices online through NoticeConnect significantly increases visibility. Notices appear in Google searches and social media, ensuring creditors are aware of the estate and reducing the chance of late claims.
- Court-Approved (Ontario & Saskatchewan): In Ontario and Saskatchewan, NoticeConnect fulfills all legal requirements, eliminating the need for costly newspaper advertisements. Estate executors in these provinces can save time and money while reaching a wider audience. In other provinces where newspaper publication is still legally required, posting on NoticeConnect is still good practice, as it gives access to a broader audience.
- Real-Time Notice Posting: With NoticeConnect, notices are posted in real-time, providing flexibility and convenience for executors/trustees.
- Affidavit of Publication: Obtain an additional Affidavit of Publication signed by Dye & Durham. This document serves as proof of submitting the notice to creditors, ensuring a comprehensive record of compliance.
- Centralized Notice Repository: All notices published through NoticeConnect are accessible on our website, making it easier for creditors to find.
- Convenient Payment and Disbursable Cost: The cost of NoticeConnect services is disbursable to the estate, minimizing financial impact on executors/trustees. You can pay conveniently by credit card directly on the website.
- 1. Create an Account: Visit the website to create your Notice Connect account.
- Select Products: Choose the desired products, such as Notice to Creditor, Affidavit of Publication, and/or Professional Will Search. Bundles are also available.
- Post in Real Time: Once your account is set up and products are selected, post your notice to creditors in real-time, ensuring prompt compliance and efficient estate administration.
Contact us to get started or learn more about our other estate planning solutions like Will Builder® and Estate-a-Base. Visit our website to learn about our range of comprehensive practice management solutions.
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