A will is a legal document that allows you to provide instructions with respect to the way in which your assets are dealt with and distributed upon your death.
Along with a will, it is a good idea to have Powers of Attorney put in place, both for property and personal care. For more information on Powers of Attorney for Property, click here. For more information on Powers of Attorney for Personal Care, click here.
A will allows you to decide how your property, including your personal belongings, real estate, money, and family heirlooms, should be distributed when you pass away. Creating a will may relieve stress on your loved ones and limit tensions between them. A will also allows you to direct your assets or a portion of your estate to a charity, or to an institution or organization of your choice. Importantly, a will also allows you to name a guardian for your children, should you pass away before they reach adulthood.
Not having a will in place when you pass away is called an “intestacy”. In an intestacy, your assets will be dealt with according to the Succession Law Reform Act, and effectively, a will is made for you. Such a scenario might result in the sale of your family home or other assets, and this may negatively impact your surviving family members. The result of an intestacy may be entirely contrary to your wishes, as your loved ones may not receive the assets or share of your estate that you wish to leave them in the event of your death. This may result in financial and emotional hardships on your loved ones. Part of all of your estate may go to persons you would not have included had you completed a will in your lifetime.
Leaving a will can ensure that your estate is distributed to those whom you wish, and can also make sure that items with special significance and those with substantial value are given to those intended. This may save your loved ones the hassle, and often argument, of figuring out who gets what.
A will is also important in the event that you are not married to your partner. Contrary to popular belief, a common law spouse does not have the same rights as spouses who are legally married in all circumstances. Having a will in place can ensure that assets are distributed as intended between common law spouses.
Putting a will in place is a fairly simple process, and can save your family time, money and stress, as well as provide you with peace of mind.
Prepared by Lerners LLP (www.Lerners.ca)
This is a brief overview and is not intended to be relied on as legal advice.
Please contact Jennifer Stevenson at 519.640.6312 or Katherine Serniwka at 519.640.6393
for further information. Not to be reproduced without permission of Lerners LLP