So you want to create an estate plan? Great! An estate plan includes things like making a will and understanding how to reduce taxes owing when you die.
An estate plan is easier said than done. It's a good idea to work with a professional who can keep you on the right track when it comes to managing your finances and your personal affairs.
These professionals include notaries and lawyers, who have the legal expertise to help put together your plan. Financial planners are not as familiar to most people as lawyers and notaries, but they can also help.
Talk to a Notary
A notary is an estate expert. A notary can give you advice on how to express your wishes, decide on goals concerning your estate, help increase the value of your property and protect your loved ones.
A notary can prepare various documents, including a will, a protection mandate (formerly "mandate for incapacity"), advance medical directives and a list of what you own. Also, a will prepared by a notary takes effect as soon as you die, unlike other types of wills that must be validated by the court or a notary.
Lastly, when settling your estate, especially if it is complicated, a notary will make sure that the legal requirements are followed and all legal questions are settled.
To find a notary near you, visit the website of the Chambre des notaires du Québec (association of notaries).
Talk to a Lawyer
A lawyer can help you prepare legal documents to prevent problems in the future.
If a legal problem involving your estate arises, a lawyer can help you solve it. She can guide you through the process and give you information about your choices. For example, there are alternative methods for settling conflicts, including mediation. Another option is legal action in the courts.
As far as legal action is concerned, only lawyers can prepare documents to be filed in court or argue a case in front of a judge when the case is contested.
To find an estate lawyer in your area, contact the Barreau du Québec's referral service.
Talk to a Financial Planner
If you have a range of estate-planning needs, you might want to talk to a financial planner.
On top of taking care of the financial aspects of your estate plan, a financial planner can act as a go-between between you and another professional, such as a lawyer or notary for legal documents (e.g., a will, a protection mandate) or an accountant for tax issues.
To use the title "financial planners", a person must take the professional training course and passed the final exam given by the Institut québécois de planification financière (financial planning institute).
Financial planners must also be registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers, a government agency, or be a member of one of the following professional orders:
- Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (order of chartered professional accountants)
- Barreau du Québec (bar association)
- Chambre des notaires du Québec (association of notaries)
- Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec (order of certified administrators)
The Institut québécois de planification financière (financial planning institute) has a list on its website online directory of all financial planners who are members of the Institute.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.