Preparing a will can seem like a daunting (and dark) task to tackle, but really it is the best way to ensure that all your bases are covered and accounted for. Preparing a will that is clear, detailed, and can be located provides security for you and your loved ones.
When you create a will...
- Your estate plans are truly your wishes, as opposed to your estate being administered by the government or stuck in probate
- You can structure your affairs to minimize what your estate pays in tax, meaning more goes to your beneficiaries
- You protect your family and make sure they are taken care of
- Lastly, you prevent ugly legal battles that can potentially complicate family matters and dynamics
Another important consideration when drafting your will is what kind you are creating. A holographic will is one that is handwritten and not witnessed, it must be in the testator's handwriting and signed. Whereas a formal will is typically typed out and prepared by a lawyer. Formal wills now include electronic wills in some jurisdictions.
Will or Trust?
It is important to know what you are creating and what document(s) you are leaving behind. Are you looking to create a will or a trust?
A will takes effect when you pass away, whereas a trust can take effect when it is created. A will dictates what exactly happens to your property and belongings when you pass away; who they go to, where they go, etc. A trust can be set in motion when you are alive and be ongoing.
"When should I make changes to my will?"
It is imperative to remember that any major life/family changes can require you to alter your will. Update your will when there are changes such as (but not limited to):
- Getting married
- Getting divorced
- A new child
- Death of an executor, beneficiary, or spouse
Keeping your will up-to-date ensures that your loved ones are properly account for in this important document and can prevent family conflict.
Last but, not least...
Locating Your Will
When the time comes it is extremely important that everything you have so diligently prepared can be found! Registering your will, whether it was prepared with a lawyer, with an online tool, or by hand, ensures that it can be found. Register your will on the Canada will Registry.