Making a Will
An experienced estate lawyer will guide you through the process of estate planning.
Making a Will is essential. While there are always more exciting ways to spend your time, ensuring your legal Will is appropriately prepared brings a formality to your estate planning. Making a legal Will means that your family and assets have the most authoritative declaration of your wishes once you die. After a lifetime of hard work, a legal Will gives you a measure of control over what may happen to your estate upon your death.
Personal Planning Questionnaire - Please download and fill out if you are looking to have a Will drafted.
Why is it essential to have a Will?
A Will announces your intentions for distributing your estate after you're gone. It is a legal document that may be required by banks, financial institutions, or other entities in which you hold assets. A Will makes it easier for your personal representative to administer your estate, and it is the only way to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to provincial default laws, and these may not align with your specific situation. Anyone who is married, has children, is divorced, in or formerly in an Adult Interdependent Relationship, owns property, has a business, or otherwise has family members that may seek support or finances from your estate should prepare a Will with a lawyer.
A properly prepared Will enables you to provide your family and loved ones with your assets upon your death, and when crafted as part of a strategic estate plan, it may help decrease taxes owed.
Without a Will, you may face these risks:
- Minor children's inheritances may be subject to control by a Public Trustee.
- People you want as beneficiaries may receive nothing.
- Your partner's inheritance may be complicated or compromised if there are other relationships (ex-spouses, Adult Interdependent Relationships, etc.)
- A court may select a Guardian for your minor children.
Why should a lawyer prepare my Will?
Any lawyer you retain is responsible for providing you with legal advice for your situation. Lawyers know the complexities of estate law and will guide you through the process of preparing a Will. There are many different laws to consider during estate planning. Some assets, such as RRSPs, may by-pass your estate if they properly designate a beneficiary. Still, many things are not automatic, and a Will is a legal document that ensures your wishes are carried out. A lawyer's expertise is invaluable in guiding you through your best unique estate plan. Your Will, your way.
What can be included in my Will?
When meeting with a lawyer to draft your Will, you will need to know:
What are my assets?
- Finances (bank accounts, investments, RRSPs, TFSAs, life insurance policies, etc.)
- Real estate (house, cottage, foreign property, investment property, etc.)
- Vehicles (family vehicles, boats, motorcycles, etc.)
- Hobbies (stamp collections, scuba diving equipment, woodworking tools, etc.)
- Personal effects (jewellery, furniture, antiques, art, etc.)
- Anything of monetary or sentimental value
Who do I want to name as beneficiaries to receive my estate?
- Current and previous marriages or Adult Interdependent Relationships
- Children from unions between yourself and your current and previous partner(s)
- Parents, siblings, extended family members
- Non-profit organizations, charities, people in need
Who do I want to appoint as my Personal Representative to carry out the administration of my estate?
The job of carrying out someone's estate is challenging, and the person appointed to do this is legally bound to their actions and decisions. Deciding who will be your Personal Representative should be carefully thought-out. It should be someone you trust who is capable of engaging in the legal process.
Making a Will Guides you in Making Tough Decisions
Opening and reading someone's Will after their death carries with it a sombre finality. Your Will is your last living testament and outlines how you will divide your money, property and assets to the people you care about. Having a Will in place helps to direct your estate when accidents happen. Aside from preparing for a natural lifespan, a Will provides direction in difficult situations, such as:
- What happens to my children if both myself and my partner die at the same time?
- Who receives my estate if my spouse and I die within a short span of time, but we each have children from previous relationships?
- Who receives my estate if I have no children or if my children die before me?
- Who will run my business when I die?
- Will my spouse receive my business assets?
Start with a checklist
Here’s a checklist of what an estate lawyer will need to know so they can create a will for you that reflects your desires and ensures that your assets are passed along to your loved ones as you intended.
An experienced estate lawyer will guide you through the process of estate planning. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an assessment by experienced estate lawyers.