Wills and Estates
Why do I need a will?
It’s important to have a Will so that, when you pass on, your wishes are followed. Your estate will be divided up as you wish, your children and other dependents will be taken care of and your assets will be distributed the way you wish. Having a Will may also prevent legal disputes, which can be time consuming, and costly to those you leave behind.
A will is the mechanism for giving clear title to identified assets to heirs. It can facilitate tax planning, business succession and provide for minor children and dependent spouses. Intestacy laws can divide up an estate but can not ensure that a dependent spouse receives enough of the estate to pay the bills since the assets of children who inherit through these laws are automatically put into a trust until the children reach the age of majority. Wills can also, for example, ensure that grandchildren inherit a deceased child’s portion if that was the intention or assumption of the deceased
What is the benefit of having a will?
Wills make it possible for the writer to decide:
- who will administer the estate
- who the beneficiaries will be, how much each receives, and when
- who will manage any assets that may remain in the estate for, perhaps, years
A properly drafted Will is at the foundation of a financial plan. Having a valid will means:
- Ensuring your family will have its future needs met.
- Your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
- The value of your estate will not be eroded unnecessarily through costly court and estate administration frees.
- Reduction of succession tax with proper estate planning.
A will, along with disability insurance, life insurance and regular savings, provides a solid foundation on which to build your financial and estate plan – protecting your family now and well into the future.
By definition, all estate assets go into a testamentary trust at death and remain there until the estate is distributed. Testamentary trusts are determined from the wording in the will. Without a will, the deceased does not control who manages that trust.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
If you don’t have a Will, your wishes may not be followed, even if they are known. Instead, your estate is distributed according to provincial law.