It is estimated that one third of Canadians do not have a Will, and many others have Wills that are inadequate to give effect to current wishes and intentions, because their assets or family situation has changed since the Will was drawn up.

“By having a Will and things in place it allows a family to grieve without having to deal with very difficult practical issues at the same time.”

Wealth brings opportunities for you and your loved ones, but it also adds complexity to your estate planning. Without a Will, you are said to die “intestate,” and provincial or territorial laws will dictate who receives the assets of your estate.

Dying without a Will:

  1. You will lose control over distribution of your assets
  2. You lose investment and management powers
  3. You face higher costs and greater delays
  4. You lose the option to set up trusts
  5. You have no guardianship instructions


This article goes deeper into the details of the Consequences of Dying Without A Will

Your Will

Getting started on your will or powers of attorney can be a daunting task.  Using this 3-Step Planning Process tool to help you Think About, Talk About, and Take Action on creating your estate plan can help. Your family will receive the gift of knowing they’ve done exactly what you would want them to do to protect both your wishes and hard-earned possessions.

A good estate plan will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family will be taken care of, and your financial affairs will be in order and administered according to your wishes. An important key element of any estate plan is a Will. The following article talks about the key elements of a will: Wills that Work


Powers of Attorney

While a Will ensures that your assets are dealt with according to your wishes at the time of death, a Continuing (or Enduring) Power of Attorney for Property can provide for the proper management of your property and financial affairs during your lifetime, should you become mentally incapable or have to be absent for an extended period of time. Accordingly, a Power of Attorney for property is an important part of a complete financial plan.

Granting Power of Attorney

What Happens When a Spouse or Someone You Love Dies


The death of your spouse or common-law partner is a very difficult and emotional time. You may be overwhelmed with grief over losing your partner, as well as trying to understand what your rights and obligations are as the surviving spouse. On top of all of that, your spouse likely named you as the executor of their estate and you may not be familiar with the responsibilities and tasks involved in administering an estate.  This publication will help guide you in the steps to be taken when your spouse dies, whether or not you have been named as executor, and considerations for updating your own estate plan.

Death of a Spouse or Common-Law Partner

Choosing an Executor

The Executor is your personal representative after your death. This important role is more than just administration, it may involve dealing with family disputes and emotional factors. While it is an honour to act as Executor, it can also be a demanding and complex role. Family, friend or professional, your Executor must be willing and able to act in this capacity. When considering who to appoint as Executor, there are many things to consider. This article looks at looks at the tasks and executor must perform.

Executor's Task List

The Executor must deal with family members during a period of grief and cope with conflicts that may arise among beneficiaries during the administration of an estate. The Executor’s actions are subject to scrutiny not only by beneficiaries, but also by tax authorities, creditors and potentially the courts.

The demands of being an Executor, along with the potential for personal liability, can be overwhelming. Depending on your circumstances and the complexity of your estate, you may want to use the services of a Corporate Executor. If you have no one who is willing, able or located close to where you live, you may consider a corporate executor.

Top 10 Reasons for a Corporate Executor

Probate Planning

While there are no death or estate taxes in Canada, provincial probate fees (also referred to as probate taxes) may be imposed on the value of parts of a deceased’s estate assets. This article explains the process, advantages, and costs of probate, and provides strategies to minimize probate taxes with probate-planning strategies.

Probate Planning

Estate Information Organizer

The BMO Private Wealth Information Organizer is designed to help your family, executor locate all of your important documents and other information needed to administer your estate or act as your Attorney for Property. Using this resource, you can record where documents or accounts are located, identify appropriate contacts and provide security access details for your online accounts. The Estate Information Organizer can be invaluable in helping to ensure that nothing is overlooked in the administration of your estate.

Estate Information Organizer

Supporting Documents

Estate Planning for Women

Planning for the Family Vacation Property

Informal or In-Trust Accounts

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Spouses and Children Using Testamentary Trusts

Estate Planning for Physicians

Alter Ego Joint Partner Trusts