You Can Decide Who Will Manage Your Estate
Managing an estate should be left to someone who is honest and well organized. This person is called your Executor. Without a Will to guide them, the courts will select an Executor on your behalf. The person chosen might not be the person you would have chosen if you had made a Will. Part of the peace of mind that comes from having a Will prepared is knowing that your estate will be settled by someone you trust.
You Can Appoint Guardians for Minor Children
If you have young children, choosing a guardian to care for them in case both parents are gone can be a challenge. The guardian(s) should of course be responsible and love your children. But you should also consider other factors, such as the candidates’ parenting philosophy and religious beliefs and whether they live near other relatives and good schools.
You Can Choose Your Beneficiaries
Most of us have strong feelings about who should inherit our money, real estate, personal possessions, and other assets – and who shouldn’t. Without a Will, you are unable to include or exclude specific beneficiaries. You must depend on the law and the government to decide the financial fate of your family and loved ones. The Canadian Government has rules to determine who inherits from you if you die without a Will. Most people don’t know what these rules are – and they might not be happy if they did!
You Can Decide When and How Much of Your Estate is Given to Your Children
If you do not have a Will, the Public Trustee is involved in the administration of your children’s share of your estate if they are minors. This means that the government will have a say in your child’s financial future and will also take a portion of your estate as their fee.
You Can Save Money on Taxes and Lawyers
A Will can help reduce the amount of tax that is paid on the value of the property and money you leave behind. You would be surprised by how much legal fees and court costs can add up to when there is no Will or there are problems with an estate, often caused by a poorly written Will. The cost of a Will is minimal compared to these costs.
Your Will May Be Out of Date
A Will is not a static document. It may need to be revised from time to time to reflect changes in your life circumstances. As a general rule, an estate plan should be reviewed every three to five years to ensure that it is still current. A few reasons a Will may need to be revised include:
- You have gotten married or divorced.
- Someone named in your Will has died, or new beneficiaries have been born.
- Your assets have increased or decreased significantly.