There is no better time to keep your personal affairs, such as your estate plan, orderly than when a new year comes around. Keeping your will and powers of attorney up-to-date is crucial. Your estate plan should be able to have as much flexibility as possible.
Ensure that your will is drafted well; that’s a great way to make sure your estate plan maintains flexibility. Apply a level of sophistication that gives a good range of powers to executors and trustees alike. A number of that can also be given to property attorneys and trustees of any established trusts. Having a will that’s too restrictive could lead to costly court dealings for your executors and beneficiaries or trustees.
Your will can be kept flexible in any number of ways.
Additional Trustee Appointment Powers
Your trustees don’t have to be set in stone. You can add a provision in your will for more trustees, or the removal or replacement of trustees. Under the Trustee Act (Ontario), trustee changes can be made through a written document. However, they are not applicable to executors in that role—only trustees. Changes on an executor level usually require a court application in Ontario.
According to the Trustee Act (Ontario), there are several circumstances that call for the trustee replacement power to be exercised:
- The trustee becomes bankrupt
- The trustee died
- The trustee gets convicted of a serious offence
- The trustee has several unpaid debts and is insolvent
- The trustee was not in Ontario for over a year
- The trustee wants to stop acting
Outside of that, it’s key to send a court application to have a trustee replaced. For wills that do not have a provision for additional trustees, a court application is also needed.
Administrative Powers of Your Trustees
There are powers set for trustees for an estate’s administration under The Trustee Act (Ontario). That’s the default meaning if your will says otherwise. It doesn’t necessarily have to apply. The Trustee Act (Ontario) hasn’t been updated in quite some time, so the powers’ scopes are quite limited. They’re quite outdated and no longer reflect modern times. Let your will contain a wide range of powers so your estate can be administered by your trustees efficiently. This also allows room for dealing with any possible unknown factors in the future.
Powers for Moving the Trust to Another Jurisdiction
It’s possible to include a power in your will that lets trustees resettle the trust elsewhere or change the governing law. This could be helpful when a long-term trust’s beneficiary moved to another jurisdiction. One vital situation where this could apply is when a trust’s beneficiary moves to the United States, thus making them subject to the estate and gift taxes of the US.
With COVID-19, the world is now more unpredictable than ever. It’s key to work with your estate lawyer and make sure your estate plan has provisions that are flexible. The key is to get solid, trustworthy legal advice and support. That way, your affairs will be in the best order possible.
Need an estate planning attorney? Contact Ontario Wills today! We have quality legal advice from Ontario lawyers on wills and estate plans by videoconference.