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Mar 162017
 

(NC) One of the very best financial decisions you can make for you and your loved ones is to write a will. It is astonishing how many people in Canada do not have one — more than half, according to some estimates. For some, just knowing where to start can be an obstacle.

For others, maybe it does not seem urgent, but dying without a will could mean that your property will not be distributed in accordance with your wishes. So what are the secrets to writing a good will? Here are a few key points to keep front of mind:

  1. Choose your executor carefully. The executor is the person you have chosen to carry out the directions of your will. It must be an adult and it should be someone you trust. It is also a good idea to name an executor who is younger than you.

  2. Take care of your loved ones first. Most of us plan to leave something to those closest to us. If you don’t name your loved ones in your will and state how much you want them to receive, your estate might not automatically go to the right people.

  3. Name guardians for your dependents. If you have children under the age of 18, your will should name the person who will be your children’s guardian if you die. If you have pets, they will also need a caretaker.

  4. Name the special causes you want to support. Think about the favourite causes you want to leave a gift to. It could be a health charity, a local animal shelter, or a human rights charity like Amnesty International.

  5. Seek expert help. You might be tempted to write a will on your own, but that decision could end up costing your loved ones more. Speak to a lawyer who specializes in estates. Their guidance might not be as expensive as you imagined and will likely pay off in the long term.

Find more information at www.amnesty.ca/legacy.

www.newscanada.com

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Feb 122017
 

(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.

www.newscanada.com

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Dec 242016
 

(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.

www.newscanada.com

Sep 302016
 

(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.travel

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:

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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

beneficiaries.

  1. 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.

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

  3. Questions of capacity: If a person loses mental capacity, for example, through Alzheimer’s, it’s not legally possible to write a will.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

www.newscanada.com

Jun 032016
 

(NC) One of the best decisions you can make when it comes to financial planning is writing a will. But it’s astonishing how many Canadians don’t have one — more than half of us according to some estimates.health care

Writing a will seems to be one of those things that many of us put off for another day. Maybe it doesn’t seem urgent, or perhaps the whole process seems daunting and can stir up uncomfortable emotions. But dying without a will could mean that your property won’t be distributed in accordance with your wishes. So put that procrastination aside and write that will with these five easy tips.

  1. Choose your executor carefully. The executor is the person you have chosen to carry out the directions of your will. It must be an adult and it should be someone you trust. It’s a good idea to name someone relatively young as executor so that they’ll likely outlive you and be able to carry out your wishes.

  2. Take care of your loved ones first. Most of us plan to leave something to those closest to us. But if you don’t name your loved ones in your will and state how much you want them to receive, your estate might not automatically go to the right people.

  3. Name guardians for your children. If you have children who are not of legal adult age, your will should name the person who will be your children’s guardian if you die.

  4. Name the special causes you want to support. Think about favourite causes you want to leave a gift to. It could be a health charity, a local animal shelter or a human rights charity like Amnesty International.

  5. Seek expert help. You might be tempted to write a will on your own, but that decision could end up costing your loved ones more. Seeking expert advice is strongly recommended — speak to a lawyer specializing in estates. Getting their guidance might not be as expensive as you imagined and will likely pay off in the long run.

Writing a will is a fairly straightforward process and your loved ones may be thankful that you took the time. A general information package is available free from Amnesty International at 312 Laurier Avenue East, Suite 250, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1H9.

www.newscanada.com

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