Top 10 Things You Should Know About Wills

  1. A Will is a final expression of your wishes for your estate. It takes effect upon your death.
  2. Only half of Canadians actually have a Will. When you die without a Will, the law directs how your property is distributed.
  3. A Will can help to manage conflict and minimize the chances of litigation after you die. 
  4. The form of your Will and the language used in your Will are very important in determining its validity and meaning.
  5. When you plan appropriately, you can avoid unnecessary estate taxes.
  6. Creating a Will is the best way to ensure you meet legal obligations to your spouse and children after your death.
  7. Your Will can allow you to deal with assets or beneficiaries in other jurisdictions.
  8. You can express your preferences about guardianship of your children in a Will. Guardianship will ultimately be determined by the Court, but they will consider your expressed views. 
  9. Instructions for funeral and other such burial instructions do not legally have to be respected, but a Will is still a good place to have them documented for consideration.
  10. You should create a Power of Attorney at the same time as your Will. There is overlap in the information your lawyer needs to create each document. Both Wills and POAs are part of a good estate plan and it is most cost effective to prepare both at the same time.