(NC) While writing a will does not need to be complicated, it’s always advisable to contact a lawyer or notary. Ensuring there are no small mistakes that could cause difficulties in future years and the peace of mind that comes from knowing everything has been done correctly are well worth the cost of legal advice — which is often far less than people imagine.
Here are answers to some common questions about writing a will.
Can I write my own will without consulting a lawyer?
You can, but it’s not usually advisable. Homemade wills are generally valid if certain minimum requirements are met, at least in some provinces. But there’s no substitute for the professional expertise of a competent lawyer or notary. Laws about will-making and taxes can vary from province to province. The specific wording needed to ensure your wishes are met is important to keep in mind. A small mistake in a homemade will might cause complications to your estate and result in your wishes not being carried out.
What is an estate?
Everyone has an estate, if they own anything at all. The term applies not just to real estate but cash, cars, furniture, books — any property at all. The smaller your estate, the more important that it be settled quickly, as delays usually mean more expense. Your estate may also be larger than you realize. Don’t make the mistake of thinking of your property’s original cost. In many cases, its value may have increased.
How much does it cost to have a lawyer draw up my will?
That depends on how simple or complicated the will is. Ask the lawyer in advance what it will cost. It’s a question they answer routinely.
To receive a free information package on wills and bequests, write to Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1H9.