The truth is that being human, we are mortal, hence I strongly recommend a will, and it has the following benefits.
– It is you who decides how your Estate is divided as per your wishes
– It is you who decides an Executor
– It is you who appoints a guardian for your children
– It is you who chooses a trustee to administer property for your kids
– It eases the strain on your family
– Minimizes expenses and reduces taxes
– Plan for incapacity
– Helps a charity of your choice
If you die in Ontario without a Will, you die Intestate. The state distributes the estate as per a set law, which provides for an orderly distribution. The first to share will be the spouse and the kids. However, the law does not take the wishes of the deceased into consideration. For example, if you practice a certain faith, would you want the guardians of the same faith? The court will appoint an administrator. He will be a stranger and will charge a fee for this service
The ability to appoint an Executor of your choice is an important benefit of having a Will. He makes an inventory of all your assets and is responsible for distribution as per your wishes. The norm is to choose a spouse, brother, sister or a friend. You also can choose your bank, trust company or a lawyer. There will be fees involved in this.
If you have minor or dependant, you can appoint a Guardian. A Guardian is responsible for the care, custody and upbringing of a child. If both parents die without appointing a guardian in a Will, the Court will choose the person who will care for your children. A Will is the most reliable way to select a Guardian to care for your children in the event of your death.
A trust consists of assets, which are managed and distributed by trustee for beneficiaries. If a trust is not set up, the courts will decide who should be the administrator. Once the child reaches the age of majority, they get full control of the assets. It may not be in their best interest.
My father in law passed away in June of this year. It was a stressful time for the whole family. It is also a time when you are fragile, emotional and very vulnerable. The whole family met at the funeral parlor. The funeral director came and introduced himself to us. After listening to all the options, I finally realized how expensive a funeral could be. Doug had laid out everything to a T. He had a will. He had insurance. He had a prepaid funeral. He stated exactly how the funeral was to proceed. He had marked on piece of paper all his accounts and financial information. This made me see how a will done properly really makes it easy on everyone.
I am going to give an example of a client of mine. John Doe and Jane Doe came to me because they had three main goals in planning their estate:
·They wanted the financial burden to easier on the other if one them dies
·They want one year old Tarzan to be in good hands and with enough funds in case they both die
·They want all debts, funeral cost and estate costs paid off
I referred them to a lawyer to do a legal will. They name his brother to take care of Tarzan. They each get a term 20 insurance of half a million each. They name each other as beneficiary. They decide to set up an education plan for Tarzan.
The Doe’s know that they need to update their will as they have more kids or any changes that take place.