You Don't Need a Will. They're Lying to You!! Scenario 1

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John was a successful accountant living in Calgary.

At 45 years old, he’d built a comfortable life for his family. A beautiful house in a good neighborhood, two smart kids, and a loving spouse. He invested well, held a diversified portfolio that included stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 

The only thing John hadn't accounted for was the absence of a Will.

John died unexpectedly. John hadn't got around to doing that Will. 

John always thought he had more time. 

After John died - these are the questions all family ask: 

  1. Did John have a Will? He must have, he was so responsible;
  2. The Will must be around here somewhere - let's look; and
  3. Well - John did have some lawyer friends - let's start calling around. Maybe they have it?

No one is allowed to grieve yet, we're all still looking for this Will, to do what John wanted. 

John didn't have a Will. 

John died "intestate" or "without a Will" - and now, instead of John being in charge of what happens with his Estate, instead of John directing what should be sold, what should be kept, who should get what… and when ... the Government is in now charge, and the Government (through their legislation) will decide. 

John worked for 20 years to let the legislation determine what should be done with his Estate. 

While the administration of John's Estate gets started, most if not all of John's personal assets he held solely, are frozen. Hopefully John's spouse has the financial means to pay the monthly expenses: the mortgage, the cars, the schools.

It'll take months before the Administrator of John's Estate (the term used for an Executor when's there's no Will) to become appointed by the Court, notify all the financial institutions, and start the process of paying the John's debts first, and certainly before anyone receives their inheritance. 

To make matters worse, John had a wonderful extended family. Wonderful parents and supportive siblings. John always knew he would provide them with a small monetary token in his Will as appreciation for the sacrifice they made for him to go to university and to become a successful accountant. 

No Will - No Way. The Administrator follows the legislation, not John's rules. 

The entire process of administering John's estate without a will was not just financially draining but emotionally taxing too. The family had to deal with legal complexities and familial disputes when they were still mourning John's untimely death. It's a harsh lesson on the importance of having a Will, even when one assumes it's too early to think about it.

Reading the above: 

Why are you paying some lawyer $1000-$1500 to assist with your Last Will and disposition of your Estate? It's only the most important legal and financial decision that you'll ever make in your life, why waste your money on a Will?

Disclaimer: Obviously the title to this post is purely satirical, meant to convey how important your Will truly is in the administration of your Estate. A Will is not about contemplating mortality, but about ensuring the protection and care of your loved ones. It's about making sure that even in one's absence, their wishes are respected. You've spent decades accumulating wealth, growing your family, desirous of a legacy that your spouse and children can be proud of. Drafting a Will doesn't mean treating everyone equally. Drafting a Will means directing your Estate to where you see fit, or where it can put to use best, or to preserve your Estate for future generations.