What is the Will?
A Will is perhaps the most important document you will ever sign. A Will grants power over who will receive your property, who will control your estate, and who may be the guardian of your children after your death. Without a Will, your assets could remain undistributed or go to people you would never have wanted to receive those assets. Furthermore, your family could spend years in court and incur significant legal fees in order to determine what your intentions were for your estate.
What can I include in the Will?
When you create your Will using our proprietary and easy-to-use system, your Will includes:
- A clause revoking former Wills and testaments
- Specification of your city/town and province of jurisdiction
- Appointing an executor or person who will carry out the terms of your Will
- Appointing alternate executor(s)
- Specifying detailed duties and powers of your executor or person carrying out the terms of your Will
- Leaving specific gifts to specific individuals such as:
- Specific amount of money
- Household items
- RRSP, RRIF, TFSA
- Shares in private companies
- Primary Residence
- Secondary Residence (i.e. cottage)
- Other specific assets
- Leaving the residual estate to specified individuals
- Trust provisions allowing you to choose an age that minor children are entitled to receive their share of the estate
- Clause allowing your executor to make income tax decisions in the best interests of your estate
- Charity clause allowing you to leave specified gifts to a charitable organisation
- Guardian clause allowing you to appoint a person to take care of a child who is a minor
- Clauses allowing the appointment of alternate guardian(s) to take care of a child who is a minor
- A detailed instruction letter on signing your Will with witnesses
Dying without a Will
Here are some obvious disadvantages of dying without a Will:
- Estate division and/or distribution is done in accordance with a provincial distribution formula, as opposed to in accordance with your wishes and preferences as a donor or testator.
- The individual looking after your estate may not be the person you would have chosen to handle your affairs upon your passing.
- The process of settling estate affairs of the deceased is more costly and time-consuming when there is no valid Will in place.
- Until a Certificate of Appointment is issued, there is no person with the requisite authority to deal with your estate.
- A power of attorney previously granted by your to someone else automatically terminates upon your passing. Therefore, if there is no valid Will in place, your previous power of attorney will not be able to deal with your estate affairs.
- In cases where you own property with another individual (other than spouse) as joint tenants, if you die without a will, the joint tenancy will be severed and ownership reverts fully to the other individual. This means that upon your passing without a valid Will, your surviving spouse and child(ren) will not inherit your half share in that property.
- Specific instructions in your Will severing the joint tenancy upon your passing and having it convert to tenancy in common ensures that your surviving spouse and child(ren) share in on the asset.
We can assist you with all of your estate planning needs, so you do not have to rely on chance.