All prices are pre-tax. 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.
Basic Will Package: $1,200 ($900).
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 Representation Agreement per spouse, which is a healthcare document appointment who can make those decisions during your incapacity and your instructions regarding those decisions.
- 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).
Please note that the rate does not include any extra features you might want in your Wills, such as separate life insurance instructions, trusts to hold real estate or other assets for a surviving spouse or disabled heir or when different spouses provide different instructions for distributing their estates. It also covers our initial meeting, an online review of the draft documents and our Will signing meeting. I reserve the right to charge an additional amount if there are changes in your instructions after I’ve completed the draft documents or other circumstances on your part that result in me putting in extra time we have not anticipated.
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 if you want separate documents for your separate Attorneys rather than combining them all in a single document.
- 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.
- Life Insurance Trusts: starting at $2,000 ($1,500). 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 $450 ($300.) 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 $2,000 ($1,500). Does the same thing for your registered plans that a life insurance trust does for your life insurance.
- 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 during your lifetime. This document confirms your continued ownership during your lifetime and an irrevocable Power of Attorney from the person you select to you designed to help you maintain control in the event of a disagreement is also included. This document is not suggested if the person you are considering adding as a joint owner has creditor concerns.
Other Legal Documents
- Alter Ego / Joint Spousal Trusts: $3,00 to create the trust. 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: $2,500 to create the trust and draft initial trustee resolutions for banking and accounting. If combined with spousal loans, please add an additional $500 for drafting the loan documents. This trust is used for small businesses owners looking to multiple access to the lifetime capital gains exemption upon sale of the business or to reduce their tax bill at death. Alternatively, it can be used to hold non-company investments and have income and gains taxed in spouses, children or grandchildren’s hands at their rates while preserving your control over the assets. This is often combined with a loan from you to the trust at a prescribed government rate to in order to qualify for these benefits if you name minors or a spouse as a trust beneficiary
*Please note that there are often additional legal costs for the trust after they are put into operations that we will need to discuss, particularly for trusts designed to distribute income and gains to beneficiaries on a yearly basis and for Spousal / Alter Ego Trusts.