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Will Preparation: The Critical Role of Accountants in Estate Planning

In the intricate process of estate planning and will preparation, the expertise of an accountant is invaluable. While the solicitor’s role is integral, encompassing the validation of the will, ensuring legal compliance, and safeguarding against undue influence, an accountant’s contribution is equally critical. Accountants specialize in identifying and documenting assets, understanding their succession and tax implications, and outlining your familial obligations and objectives. This comprehensive financial insight is crucial in strategizing to minimize tax liabilities and probate fees, thereby optimizing the estate’s value for your beneficiaries.

The collaboration between your solicitor and accountant ensures a seamless integration of legal and financial expertise. Accountants play a pivotal role in discovering assets, detailing their title and tax attributes, and documenting family members and any obligations towards them. This process is vital in identifying strategies to minimize taxes and address potential complications, providing a summarized overview for your solicitor to draft a will that truly reflects your intentions and financial landscape.

Your solicitor, on the other hand, is tasked with verifying your capacity and freedom from undue influence at the time of the will’s execution. They are responsible for drafting your will, ensuring its validity, and advising on legal nuances to prevent accidental revocation. The solicitor may also offer to maintain custody of the will, ensuring its safety and confidentiality.

The preliminary steps in will instruction take into account your specific wishes and identify any potential obstacles to the will’s administration. This involves recording detailed notes, calculating net worth, verifying property ownership, and disclosing dependents and family members. As financial advisors and accountants, we at Shajani are ideally positioned to document and summarize this information, assisting your solicitor in the will preparation process. Our expertise as tax specialists further enables us to develop comprehensive estate plans aimed at reducing the tax burden on your estate.

A will typically encompass several key components: an introductory clause declaring the will’s purpose, a revocation clause to nullify previous wills, definitions for clarity, beneficiary designations for assets like insurance and registered plans, executor appointments, property transfers to executors in trust, provisions for minor beneficiaries, and administrative guidelines. It concludes with a testimonium clause, including the testator’s signature and witness attestations.

Certain specific clauses, such as the residual clause, hotchpot clause, and common disaster clause, address the bulk of the estate’s distribution, ensure fairness among beneficiaries by accounting for lifetime gifts, and provide for scenarios where beneficiaries do not survive the distribution date, respectively.

For comprehensive estate planning that integrates financial acuity with legal precision, consider the specialized services of Shajani CPA. Our expertise in accounting and tax planning, combined with our collaborative approach with solicitors, ensures that your will accurately reflects your financial situation and wishes, securing your legacy and providing for your loved ones with foresight and care.

This information is for discussion purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. There is no guarantee or warrant of information on this site and it should be noted that rules and laws change regularly. You should consult a professional before considering implementing or taking any action based on information on this site. Call our team for a consultation before taking any action. ©2024 Shajani CPA.

Shajani CPA is a CPA Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer firm and provides Accountant, Bookkeeping, Tax Advice and Tax Planning service.

Nizam Shajani, Partner, LLM, CPA, CA, TEP, MBA

I enjoy formulating plans that help my clients meet their objectives. It's this sense of pride in service that facilitates client success which forms the culture of Shajani CPA.

Shajani Professional Accountants has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re here to support you in all of your personal and business tax and other accounting needs.