All prices are pretax. Legal services are subject to both GST and PST. For items that cost less for singles, I’ll quote the singles prices in brackets beside the regular price. Also, I will reduce my legal costs by $50 per person or per couple for every client that purchases more than $1,000 in legal services from me within 30 days of me providing you with your legal documents.
Basic Will Package: $1,000 ($750).
This package is intended to cover uncomplicated distributions where both spouses have essentially identical Wills that pay out to all heirs directly, except for younger children. It includes a discretionary trust for your children that protects them until an age or ages of your choice up to age 40 so they can either inherit at a set age or inherit in stages in the hopes that they will learn as they go. As blended family situations usually have added complications, most couples in blended families won’t qualify for the basic rate.
- 1 basic Will per spouse;
- 1 Power of Attorney per spouse naming either a single person or multiple people who can act at the same time;
- 1 basic incapacity planning document, which is either an Advance Directive (which covers only end of life wishes) or a Nomination of Committee (a document naming who can make your health and money choices if anyone applies to court to have you declared incompetent).
I charge $275 per hour for added work and can give you an estimate once you tell me what you need. Most additional features take between 1 to 4 hours. Some of the additional services may include:
- Distributing each spouse’s estates to different heirs or including different features in each spouse’s Wills;
- setting up trusts for disabled children;
- setting up long term trusts for your kids and their families (often done for income tax savings);
- spousal trusts. Allows a spouse the use of a home or investment portfolio for life but ensures that on his passing, it reverts to the heirs of your choice rather than a subsequent trophy wife or his children from a previous relationship. It also avoids probate fees on the second spouse’s passing and, for disabled spouses, provide significant tax savings;
- Education trusts. If there is a significant age gap between children, the younger ones may lose out if the estate is divided equally when you have already paid the costs of raising and educating the older children before your death but the younger ones have to pay these expenses out of their inheritance. This trust allows you to immediately divide a portion of the estate equally among your children but to leave an additional fund to pay all children’s maintenance and education while under a certain age, with the remainder divided equally among your children when they all are a set age or have received a degree.
Add-on Documents to the Basic Will Package:
These prices are based on the assumption that you are already getting the basic package. Prices will vary if you want one of these documents on its own.
- “backup” Power of Attorney: $150 ($100). This is an additional power of attorney designed to protect you if you and your first choice are incapacitated at the same time.
- Both an Advance Directive and Nomination of Committee: $75 ($50).
- Representation Agreement: $600 ($450). Instead of an Advance Directive or Nomination of Committee, you get a detailed document naming who makes your healthcare choices throughout your incapacity and specific instructions about types of treatment you do or don’t want, type of care facility and whatever added touches you would like at that time to improve the quality of your life.
- Health Care Package: $700 ($500). A Representation Agreement and either or both an Advance Directive or Nomination of Committee.
- Life Insurance Trusts: starting at $750 ($600). A separate document that replaces the simple form provided by your insurance company. It minimizes the chances of the wrong people inheriting inadvertently or of your children receiving the insurance proceeds at age 19 without supervision. This fee also includes filing a copy of the document with your insurer.
- Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Clause starting at $300 ($225.) Provides most of the same benefits of a life insurance trust but within the Will. Still avoids probate and creditor issues but requires updating every time you change your Will and doesn’t protect your privacy like a separate life insurance trust.
- RRSP/ RRIF/ TFSA Trusts: starting at $750 ($600). Does the same thing for your registered plans that a life insurance trust does for your life insurance.
- RRSP/RRIF/TFSA Beneficiary Designation Clauses: varies. I will provide free language inside your Will if you wish your RRSP etc. to be distributed in the same way as the rest of your estate but you are responsible for filing a copy of your Wills with the institutions holding your funds, which must be done to implement the changes. If you wish for me to hand this, there is a charge of $150 ($120) per institution I need to contact.
- Bare Trusts: starting at $750 per document. One may do per couple. This document can be used along with joint ownership of assets with the next generation to avoid probate fees but avoiding adverse tax events and exposure to your children’s spouses and creditors. Confirms your ownership during your lifetime.
- Alter Ego / Joint Spousal Trusts: $4,500 to create the trust and assist in getting it up and running. This document is a Will alternative and incapacity planning device rolled into one. It avoids probate fees, estate creditors and Will challenges while protecting your privacy at death.
- Family Trusts: $3,000 to create the trust and assist in getting up and running. This trust is used for small businesses and for investors hoping to income-split with other family members and reduce capital gains tax on death or upon the sale of a business.