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Sep 042017
 

(NC) Although we may contemplate it from time to time, most of us don’t think seriously about preparing a will. But it may be the most important document you will ever write, and there’s no time like the present to get it done and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it. Here are a few guidelines:

Should I consult a lawyer? Some people try to save money by drafting a will on their own. While completing a ready-made will that can be purchased for a few dollars may seem appealing, it can end up costing more money for the people you wished to benefit with your estate.

The cost of having a professionally-drafted will is far less than most people realize. You can also save money by making sure you are organized and ready before seeing the lawyer by creating a record of your important documents and the names of your immediate family, executor and beneficiaries. The less time you spend with the lawyer, the lower your cost will be.

What will happen if I don’t have a will? If you don’t have a will, the court appoints an administrator to manage your estate. Provincial legislation will determine who your beneficiaries will be. This means some of the bequests you had always intended to make, such as to your church, your favourite health charity or organizations like Amnesty International that you supported in your lifetime, would be ignored.

What is an executor? An executor is the person you choose who will be responsible for using your assets as needed to pay any outstanding debts and file a final income tax return. Once all the financial obligations have been met and a clearance certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency has been obtained, the executor can then distribute the remainder of your assets according to your wishes.

Who can be an executor? Any adult can be an executor, including one or more of the following: your spouse, a family member, a friend, a trust company or a lawyer. The important thing is to choose someone who is both capable and willing to take on the responsibility of handling your estate.

A free information package on wills can be received by writing to Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Ave E, #315, Ottawa ON, K1N 1H9.

www.newscanada.com

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Jul 062017
 

(NC) No matter what the size of your estate, every adult should have a will, say specialists in this field. Without one, you risk leaving the distribution decisions to an impersonal formula, with the government writing the terms.

A valid will ensures that 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 needs, and a court appointed administrator will handle your affairs. In making a will, it is important to give careful thought to what persons, needs or organizations you would like to benefit. It is best to consult a lawyer or notary to ensure your will is properly drawn up. This is much less expensive than most people imagine.

Here are 10 reasons for drafting a will:

  1. It’s your property: A will guarantees that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.

  2. Children/Grandchildren: A will provides for the care of any children who are minors, enabling you to choose a guardian. Should both parents die, it assures the children do not become a ward of the Court.

  3. Speedy settlement of affairs: Without a will, lengthy court delays could create undue hardship for your family.

  4. Estate planning: When skillfully drafted, a will allows you to incorporate tax-saving measures and avoid unnecessary taxes, resulting in increased funds for your beneficiaries.

  5. Simplified distribution of your estate: By providing a blueprint and a list of directions, families will not have to guess about what you wanted.

  6. Peace of mind: A certain peace of mind comes from knowing that you’ve drafted a will that sets out your true intentions.

  7. Questions of capacity: If a person loses mental capacity, it’s not legally possible to write a will.

  8. 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, education or sports charity, or an human rights organization like Amnesty International.

  9. Relieving any burden on your family: Reviewing the contents and nature of your estate and making known your decisions ahead of time for its disposition makes it easier on all family members.

  10. Ability to be creative: There are relatively few rules that limit a testator’s (person who writes a will) ability to make creative, thoughtful dispositions of property.

Write for a free information package on wills and bequests to Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, #315, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H9.

www.newscanada.com

May 112017
 

(NC) The topic of will-writing is often fraught with myths and misperceptions. Many of us believe that only the rich, elderly, or people in dangerous lines of work need to worry about having one. In fact, up to half of Canadians die without a will, leaving their legacy unprotected and friends and family with uncertainty about their estate.

This is why legal practitioners recommend that every person should have a will covering these five essential points:

• Determine who you want as your executor — the person who will carry out your wishes in settling your estate.

• Carefully plan for your dependents.

• Name a guardian for young children.

• Detail specific monies or gifts to friends, relatives or charities.

• Put in writing the details of your funeral arrangements.

A will is more than a simple outline for the final distribution of your property and effects. It is an occasion to plan for the financial support of the people and projects who you have actively supported during your lifetime. In addition to family and loved ones, many people also consider organizations in their will. Some common examples include a church, charity, or favourite organization like Amnesty International..

Laws about will-making and taxes vary from province to province and the specific wording to ensure that your wishes are carried out may require the help of a lawyer. Experts strongly recommend that you seek legal advice on this subject.

Find more information and get a free information package at www.amnesty.ca/legacy.

www.newscanada.com

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