According to a poll from CTV News a whopping 51% of Canadians do not have a will. If you’re one of the 51%, you may be wondering if it’s really worth it to have one or what the purpose of a will is. At Relocate Stress Free, we handle many estates and have some great insider knowledge to share with you.
What does a will do?
In the event of your passing, a will ensures that any property and assets you own are distributed the way you want them to be. Ensuring that these items are taken care of in advance will take a lot of stress off your loved ones during such a difficult time. If you have children, having a will in place can also protect their future(s) and ensure they receive the best possible care should you pass while they are minors.
When do you need one?
There is some debate among different professionals on who needs a will and who doesn’t.
If you’re married you need a will because your spouse is closely tied to your life and without one they don’t always gain control of your assets. Having what you want to pass to your spouse in writing and clear terms ensures there is no room for interpretation or negotiation in your absence. It’s especially important to note designations in subsequent marriages or common-law partnerships.
If you have children, you need a will because they are likely to inherit your assets if you pass away after your spouse. Whether you want your children to inherit your assets or not, it’s crucial you have it in writing for legal reasons to avoid room for errors or interpretation from the courts. When your children are minors, you will also need to name an executor of your estate and guardian of your children. The executor is someone responsible for the distribution of your assets and the guardian is responsible for raising your children. It’s a big decision for parents to choose family members or friends to fill these roles and it can be uncomfortable to talk about, however, it’s necessary to protect your children’s future and ensure they are raised the way you would want them to be raised.
If you have a positive net worth, you need a will too. It’s nice to be able to plan for the future and assign your assets to loved ones, friends, charities and more keeping the power in your own hands-after all it’s your hard-earned money that purchased your assets and grew your savings. Assigning these assets in advance also helps to manage any tension between family members that can arise under these unfortunate circumstances.
The time of death of a loved one is a stressful situation for all parties involved. Unfortunately, it’s all too common that unassigned assets add to that stress and can lead to long drawn out court battles for loved ones. Taking care of this necessary, and sometimes uncomfortable, task is an important part of planning for your future and that of your loved ones.