Estate planning is always a difficult subject to broach, there are a lot of uncomfortable thoughts to deal with and it can feel overwhelming. People often wonder: where do I start? what do I do? How do I do it? Wills Keeper has simplified all the answers to these questions into easy-to-understand and read info bytes. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada found that half of all Canadians have Wills, the biggest roadblock seems to be creating a Will in the first place. Wills Keeper aims to make it easier than ever to create and update your Will as your circumstances continue to change.
What is a Will?
Your Will is your last testament. It is the document that will outline what happens to all the assets, belongings, debts, liabilities, and potentially children and pets after your passing. This is collectively referred to as your “estate”. In your Will, you can also outline various wishes or instructions you may have after your passing, for example, any gifts you want to give to a specific person or institution (I.e. a charity) or any burial instructions you wish to have carried out on your behalf.
An important thing to remember is that you should assign an executor to your Will. Read about what that is and who they are in our executor’s post.
Do I Need Will and What If I Die Without One?
For those who die without a Will, the law dictates that they have passed “intestate”. What does this mean practically? Well, your property will be distributed according to the laws of your province or territory. Generally, a standard form calculation will be used by the Courts in their determination of how your estate is divided.
Leaving your estate to the Courts is typically not ideal since there can be major differences between what you may think should be done and what the Courts will choose to do. For example:
- The court will decide who will become responsible for your children.
- Your estate may not be divided in the way you want.
- It will take significantly longer for your affairs to be dealt with.
People often go to the internet or a Lawyer for a Will, and many different groups or organizations offer do-it-yourself kits. In Canada, there is no standard form document for a Will, in-fact you could write your last wishes on a napkin and sign it (although this is not recommended at all).
Do I need a Lawyer to make my Will? You’ll be surprised to learn that the answer to this question is that there is no formal requirement or legislation that dictates that you need a lawyer. You can call on the help of a lawyer if you need advice regarding a complicated estate but typically this is not necessary.
Wills Keeper offers an easy solution for your Will, get started now.
So, you’ve drafted your will, and have it signed and witnessed. Now what? The first step is making copies of it and give them to anyone who may need one. Also making digital copies for yourself. Then you should take care to store the original somewhere safe and known to the executor. If it’s at home, we recommend using a fire, water, and smokeproof safe. Keep it dry and away from anything that could compromise the paper. The documents need to be legible so that the executor can read them and present them to any relevant institutions. You can also keep it at the bank in a safety deposit box, just make sure that your executor has access to it.
Wills are documents that change as your life changes, it’s impossible to account for every circumstance in the future which is why we recommend updating your Will every few years or at every milestone. Children, pets, new assets, and property are just a few of the circumstances that can change or impact your Will. Wills Keeper provides you the opportunity to update your Will online at any time for no additional fee. Get started today.