Where There’s a Will There’s a Way: Tips for Estate Planning

In May 2021 Ontario made several changes to laws that could impact your legacy. Make sure you avoid legal pitfalls and family feuds!

The Danforth Jewish Circle offered a webinar on May 5th, 2021 that provided enlightening answers to questions like these:

  • If you die without a will, what happens to your assets and investments? Who decides?
  • If you have a will and want to change or update it, can you do it without visiting a lawyer? How does a codicil work? Or a handwritten holographic will?
  • How can you discuss estate planning with your family? That is one of the biggest barriers to action!
  • Most people pay more in taxes the year they die than any year of their lives. The government can take up to 57% unless you make proper arrangements! How can you minimize probate fees and taxes?
  • Ontario law says if you are in a common-law relationship but not legally married you are treated differently than a married couple if one of you dies without a will. Your partner does not automatically get a fair share, and you might not like what the government dictates. What should an unmarried couple do? What if you are divorced, remarried, or single (with or without dependents)?
  • What special arrangements need to be made in your will if you have problematic relations with family and you want to make sure certain people are excluded – or included – even though this might create controversy?
  • How can you make sure a disabled person you love is looked after if you are not there?
  • If you have stocks or other property that is worth more than when you bought it, why is better to donate it to charity instead of selling it first and donating the cash?

For answers to these urgent questions and more, watch the recorded DJC webinar, or share it with others, on the DJC YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/AmN7zjUDyPY. You’ll find other DJC videos there too – browse through them as much as you like.

Here’s your quick guide:

  • Rabbi Miriam’s D’var Torah on the Jewish values at the heart of our approach to money and giving, and how this applies both during our lifetimes as well as after our deaths, starts at 2:00
  • Listen to personal insights into financial and estate planning from Sheri Cohen, social worker, community activist, and DJC member, beginning at 11:09
  • Get the latest tips on legal and tax issues from Robin Goodman, a lawyer and Vice-President of Insurance, Trust, and Estate Planning with RBC Wealth Management Financial Services, and DJC member) starting at the 20:00 minute mark

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