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Comprehensive Guide: Organizing Information for Drafting Your Will in Ontario

Drafting a Will is a crucial step in Estate Planning, ensuring that your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of according to your instructions. Organizing Information beforehand can streamline the process and help you create a comprehensive and legally sound Will. Here are some tips to help you get organized when drafting your Will in Ontario:


Gather Personal Information: Start by gathering essential personal information such as your full legal name, date of birth, address, and contact details. Include any previous addresses if applicable.

List Family Members and Beneficiaries: Make a list of your immediate family members, including your spouse, children, and any other dependents. Also, identify beneficiaries who will inherit your assets and specify their relationship to you. Ideally list their names, address, and phone and email contact information. Keep in mind that names like Smith and or Pham or Lee are extremely popular and trying to contact someone with just a name in a Will can be daunting for the Executor and lawyer.

Identify Assets and Debts: Create an inventory of your assets, including real estate, investments, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, valuable possessions, and business interests. Also, list any outstanding debts such as mortgages, loans, or credit card balances. For Will preparation you do not need to identify the amount of money in these accounts but what we want to know is if you have savings, RRSPs, RRIF’s, TFSAs, insurance policies, etc. with beneficiaries identified. This is important to help avoid tax implications of these funds.

Consider Special Bequests: If you have specific items or amounts you wish to leave to certain individuals or organizations, note these down separately. This could include sentimental items, charitable donations, or gifts to friends or family members.

Appoint an Executor: Decide who you want to appoint as the executor of your Will. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, managing your Estate, and handling any legal and financial matters after your passing. Make sure to discuss this decision with the chosen individual beforehand.

Include Guardianship Arrangements: If you have minor children or dependents, outline your preferences for their guardianship in case something happens to you and your spouse/partner. Discuss these arrangements with potential guardians and ensure they are willing to take on this responsibility.

Review and Update Beneficiary Designations: Check and update beneficiary designations on insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other assets that pass outside of Probate. Ensure these designations align with your wishes as stated in your Will.

Document Digital Assets and Passwords: In today’s digital age, it’s essential to include instructions for handling digital assets such as online accounts, social media profiles, and digital files. Provide access information and passwords to your executor or a trusted person.

Consider Tax Implications: Be aware of potential tax implications for your Estate and beneficiaries. Consult with a tax advisor or Estate Planning lawyer to understand how taxes may impact your assets and how to minimize tax liabilities.

Consult with Legal Professionals: While Organizing Information is crucial, seeking legal advice is paramount when drafting a Will. Consult with a qualified Estate Planning lawyer in Ontario to ensure your Will complies with provincial laws and accurately reflects your intentions.


By following these tips and taking a systematic approach to Organizing Information, you can make the Will drafting process more efficient and ensure that your wishes are clearly documented and legally enforceable. Investing time and effort upfront can provide peace of mind and help protect your legacy for generations to come.


For more Organizing Information, download our Estate Planning Guide

Check out our Comprehensive 100 Plus Page Guide – SmartAccess Planning Kit to help you organize everything all in one binder!

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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.