I Will… Make a Will
Wills give lots of people the willies–only 70% of Canadians actually have a written will. Some people procrastinate, while others find the idea too morbid. But dying without a will is not advised–hence the saying, “A person without a will has lawyers for heirs.”
By making a will, you can ensure that your family, friends and favourite charities will benefit from your estate, instead of the government or the local law office. In a will, you can name an executor and determine who will control your estate after your death. A will identifies the persons (or “beneficiaries”) that will receive your estate and helps to minimize the estate expenses that your heirs will have to pay out of your estate. If you die without a will (or “intestate”), legislation and the courts will decide who your beneficiaries are, and how much they get.
An even more undesirable scenario is dying without a will and without known relatives because this means your estate will go to the government after a certain length of time. If you have young children and you die without a will and there’s no surviving spouse that’s able to act as the parent of your children, then the courts will appoint a guardian for your children.
In many cases, only a simple will can avoid all of this. You can get forms and self-help booklets at your local stationery store. In other cases, where your estate is more complex, you should contact a lawyer.
Generally speaking, a basic will is likely sufficient if you’re under 50, healthy, and not very wealthy. If you expect estate taxes to be levied or you have a complicated estate, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer and an estate planner. For example, if you have a child with a disability or special needs, you should get professional help. Also if you expect someone to come out of the woodwork and contest your will, or if you have a large number of valuable assets, you’ll want to talk to a professional.
The laws regarding wills are provincially legislated. You can find more information from the Province of Ontario website at http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice-ont/estate_planning.asp.
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1.800.361.8222 www.libro.caContact a Financial Planner:
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