Many people believe they are too young to have a Will. A Will not only addresses what will happen to your real property, such as your house, but it also determines the future of funds in your bank accounts, investments, personal belongings and your minor children.
The few hours one spends with their lawyer discussing estate planning could save their spouse, children and loved ones much time, effort and money down the road.
The following are top 5 reasons you need a Will:
- You have the authority to regulate who controls and inherits your assets/estate -> Having a Will is the only way that you can have complete control over who will manage your estate and how your assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries of your choice. Without a Will, the Succession Law Reform Act (SLRA) will determine the future of your estate, which may not be in accordance with your wishes, and can be expensive for your family members to contest in court. For instance, if you die intestate (without a Will) and are survived by your spouse and children, your spouse will not receive the entire value of the estate if it is greater than $200,000; your spouse will receive a share of $200,000 and the balance will be divided between your spouse and your children, such division determined by the number of children you have. This may not be the intended distribution of your assets and can be easily avoided by drafting a simple Will.
- You can appoint a custodian and guardian for your minor children -> If anything unfortunate were to occur to both you and your spouse, without a Will, you leave your minor children in the hands of an uncertain future. Making the choice to have a Will ensures that your minor children, and their inheritance, are looked after by someone you trust as a parent. Without a Will, the court decides who the guardian and custodian will be of your children and their newly inherited property, which may be a family member, an institution or an unrelated party.
- You have the opportunity to save money and reduce estate taxes -> Setting up your estate in certain ways, such as holding property jointly, can reduce the taxes payable by your estate upon your death, which leaves a larger, more valuable estate, for your loved ones.
- You allow your family to grieve and avoid litigation over your estate -> The first time most individuals discuss the future of their estate with their spouse and/or loved ones is when they are in the process of drafting a Will. This discussion allows the grantor to arrive at a mutual understanding of the division of their property, or family property, with their intended beneficiaries. This mutual harmony prevents surprises and disputes between family members, which can lead to expensive and long-term litigation, payable by your estate. Having a Will allows your family and friends to grieve your death and support each other, without the burden of disputes over your property.
- You can protect your business -> For individuals who run a business of their own, a Will gives entrepreneurs the assurance that the business will be in reliable hands after their passing. It provides you with the flexibility of handing over your company to co-owners of the business, especially in situations where this is not addressed in corporate documents where there are multiple shareholders of a company.
The information provided on this site is for information only and does not create a solicitor-client relationship with the firm. The material is commentary and it does not constitute specific legal advice to the reader. Please consult a lawyer for advice specific to your case.