(NC) Every adult should have a will, no matter how large or small their estate. Without a will, your property will be distributed by means of an impersonal formula established by provincial laws. In essence, this means the government would write the terms of your will for you.
A valid will ensures your property will be dealt with according to your wishes and with a minimum of complications and expense for your estate. Without a will, your spouse may not receive as much as you would wish, your heirs will receive fixed percentages regardless of their individual needs, and a court-appointed administrator will handle your affairs.
When making your will it’s important to give careful thought to what persons, needs, or organizations you would like to benefit. It’s best to consult a lawyer or notary to ensure your will is properly drawn. And it’s much less expensive than most people imagine.
Here are the top eight reasons for drafting a will:
- Children/grandchildren: A will provides for the care of your children who are minors, enabling you to choose a guardian. Should both parents die, it assures children do not become wards of the court.
Speedy settlement of affairs: Without a will, lengthy court delays could create undue hardship for your family.
Estate planning: When skillfully drafted, a will allows you to incorporate tax saving measures and avoid unnecessary taxes. This in turns results in increased funds for your
- Simplify the distribution of your estate: By providing a blueprint and a list of directions, families will not have to guess about what you wanted.
Peace of mind: A certain peace of mind comes from knowing you’ve drafted a will that sets out your true intentions.
Questions of capacity: If a person loses mental capacity, for example, through Alzheimer’s, it’s not legally possible to write a will.
Supporting your favourite causes: A will assures that you can continue to help organizations you have believed in during your lifetime, such as a health charity or a human rights organization like Amnesty International.
Relieving any burden on your family: Reviewing the contents and nature of your estate and making your decisions known ahead of time makes it easier on other family members.
For a free information package on wills and bequests, write to Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON K1N 1H9.