Wills & Estates

Wills & Estate Planning Lawyers | Toronto & Durham Region


In the event of your untimely passing, without a valid will, you run the risk of your assets and property(ies) being divided up by the law against your wishes. While it may be difficult to think about, developing a plan for what will happen to your home, financial assets, and possessions upon your passing, can give you control over what you have worked hard to grow.

As a small, boutique firm, Doss Law is proud to provide high-touch, personalized legal guidance pertaining to wills and estates litigation to clients across Toronto and the Durham Region. Our dedicated team of will & estate planning lawyers will help you take control of your assets, and the financial future of your loved ones.

It is crucial to make decisions regarding protecting your assets, whether financial, personal (jewelry, car, artwork) or real property (condo or house), in case of unforeseen circumstances, including death and disability, to avoid possible conflict and minimize or prevent litigation. We can use our practical experience to help you keep your family and your Estate from being tied up in costly and acrimonious litigation.

At Doss Law, we can help prepare documents and explore a full range of Estate planning options, including:

  • Will Drafting
  • Establishing Trusts (including Family Trusts, Testamentary Trusts, Insurance Trusts)
  • Powers of attorney for personal care
  • Powers of attorneys for property
  • Estate Litigation
  • Estate Administration
  • Guardianship-Capacity Disputes
  • Guardianship Applications
  • Business Succession Planning

Even the most straightforward and seemingly simple Estate has numerous pitfalls that can entangle an executor or trustee and potentially lead to costly and complex litigation. Our team will provide you with the most suitable estate plan customized to suit your circumstances.

Call Doss Law Today!

Make a plan today for the future of those who matter most. For more information or a free consultation for will & estate planning, reach out to the Doss Law team today. Our will & estate lawyers are proudly serving clients across Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, & Oshawa.

Wills & Estates Services

Wills

On the passing of an individual without a will, their estate is left in the hands of the law. There are many advantages in planning ahead:

  • Ensures your wishes are known
  • Control of who will manage your estate by appointing executors and alternate executors
  • Your children: can choose to appoint a guardian(s) for your minor children. However, without a will, the court is entitled to decide who becomes the guardian(s)
  • Opportunities to minimize and possibly prevent fees and taxes upon death
  • Protecting your estate from being contested

The purpose of a will is to provide for an orderly transfer of assets upon death in accordance with a testator’s wishes and to avoid confusion and conflict in the distribution of a deceased’s assets. During your life time, you can revoke your will (or a part of same) at any time as long as you are mentally capable.

Trusts

Inter Vivos Trusts

A trust is legally created by you and administered by the designated trustee for the benefit of the beneficiary. An Inter Vivos Trust, also referred to as a “living trust”, is created during your life time and commences at the time it is written.

Advantages of an Inter vivos trust:

  • Provides you with the opportunity to take advantage of income splitting
  • Allows you to reduce income taxes by dividing income with your family members who are in lower income tax brackets
  • The trust is a means by which you can fund your children and grandchildren’s education
  • Protects your assets from creditors

Testamentary Trusts

Trusts created after death are called testamentary trusts and can be created through wills or an order of a court. There are many reasons that testamentary trusts would be recommended, including when a beneficiary is disabled, there are minor beneficiaries, or you have a blended family.

Trusts are complicated and would not be recommended in all circumstances. Our team will discuss your best estate plan with you and provide you with the most suitable customized plan for your circumstances.

Power of Attorney

By signing a Power of Attorney while capable, a grantor is able to have his or her own choice as to an attorney to act on his or her behalf in the event of incapacity or where the grantor, while capable, is simply unavailable when important decisions must be made, or actions taken on a timely basis.

Advantages of Powers of Attorney:

  • Practical: In the event of short-term illness or incapable to manage your property entirely, an attorney of your choice can manage your financial and estate affairs
  • Safe: Continuing Powers of Attorney are typically broad in scope and hold tremendous responsibility. It is a danger that it can be abused, which is why it is important that safeguards be put in place to avoid abuse. Your attorney will be bound by law and accountable for how they manage your affairs
  • Flexibility: You may choose someone who you trust or more than one person to make decisions for you
  • Convenience: To ensure your wishes are carried out due to unforeseen circumstances and for your peace of mind, it is necessary to take precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family

Continuing Power of Attorney for Property

A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property gives legal authority to another person to manage one’s property during the person’s subsequent incapacity to manage their property. Entitles someone to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your finances when you are incapable to make these decisions for yourself or are mentally incapable. This power will cease when you are able, or mentally capable, of making these decisions again.

Power of Attorney for Personal Care

This legal document gives authority to another person to make decisions on your behalf regarding matters such as health care, nutrition, safety, and hygiene, in the event you become incapable of making those decisions for yourself.

Having a Power of Attorney for Personal Care will help avoid disputes with family members as the family member who is entitled to make decisions is already chosen. A continuing Power of Attorney for property may be entitled to annual compensation from the property in accordance with the prescribed fee scale on a monthly, quarterly, or annual payment basis.

We help fiduciaries ensure that they act solely in the interests of the estate or grantor of the Attorney for Property or Personal Care.

Estate Litigation

Estate litigation is more common than ever in Ontario. Common situations that lead to litigation that can be avoided:

  • Siblings not being treated equally in a will,
  • The disposition of sentimental properties
  • Inadequate provision for dependents (spouses, ex-spouses, common-law or same-sex spouses, children and other possible eligible dependents),
  • Testators not having testamentary capacity,
    Poorly chosen executors, and
  • Situations involving a second spouse in conflict with children of a first marriage.

At Doss Law, we have helped many executors and beneficiaries negotiate, mediate, and resolve complicated and highly charged estate matters in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.

Estate Administration

A standard and straightforward estate will normally take between one to two years to be fully administered and distributed. The person responsible for distributing the estate is called an estate administrator. Their roles include paying debts and filing tax returns to establishing who the lawful heirs are and locating them as well as distributing the money in proper shares to the heirs. However, if the identity of the heirs and their identity is unknown, this process may take longer. We will not only provide you with guidance but can also help you, as an estate administrator, to avoid potential disputes.

Guardianship Capacity Dispute

The role of the property guardian is to step into the incapable’s shoes for the purposes of making financial decisions and transactions on his or her behalf, as well as protecting his or her financial welfare.

The essential role of a personal care guardian is to act as a substitute decision maker and make personal care decisions for the incapable when necessary. Personal care decisions can include decisions concerning where to live, what to eat, safety, clothing, personal hygiene and health care.

Guardianship Application

Guardianship / Capacity Disputes: There are two ways in which you may be a court-appointed guardian: the “standard procedure” and the “summary disposition procedure”. A judgment appointing a guardian does not require recourse to a judicial hearing. A property guardian has the role of stepping into the incapable’s shoes and makes decisions on finances. A guardian granted the legal authority and duty to care for the personal care and property of a person unable to make decisions for themselves such as minors, loved ones with special needs or any other individual incapable of making decisions for their property or for their own personal care.

Business Succession Planning

Business succession planning is the process of determining how you will transfer your business ownership and make the transition out of the ownership/management role. Whether you no longer want to run the business or sell it to fund your retirement, without a transition plan, your business may suffer or even fail. Having a sound succession plan in place will make this transition easier. Our goal is to tailor to your business succession needs, which will help your business remain profitable for new owners.

Doss Law can assist you with succession planning for your business; for privately-held companies and partnerships, including the implementation of buy/sell agreements and concordant insurance strategies.

Trustee/Executor/Attorney Obligation

Executors and trustees maintain control over the Estate or Trust. Disputes over how that person disburses assets, compensates himself, and manages an Estate or Trust can lead to contentious litigation and potentially the removal of a given trustee or executor.

An Estate Trustee has a duty to make investment decisions pending the distribution of the estate. They may also have a duty to diversify the investment portfolio, having regard to the requirements of the trust, and general economic and investment market conditions.

We also help facilitate mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution for clients to formulate a private and custom solution.