LAWPRO recently released a video that illustrates what happens if you die without a will.
Generally, if you die without a will, you will lose control over what happens when you die. Your estate will incur costs far greater than the cost of making a will. The administration of the estate will be delayed as it can take several months until the court appoints someone to administer the estate. A well-drafted will give you peace of mind knowing that your estate will be settled according to your wishes and that your loved ones are protected.
If you have a will, you decide who your Executor will be and who receives your estate. Yo can distribute your personal items, such as furniture, paintings, cars etc. You can leave your entire estate to your wife/husband even if you have children. If you are not married you can leave any part of your estate to your common law spouse who would not be entitled to share in your estate if you died without a will.
If you have minor children, you can designate a person of your choice as guardian. You can prescribe at what age your children or grandchildren will receive their inheritance or parts thereof. You can also determine the provisions of any trust for your children. If a beneficiary has special needs, you can set up a so called Henson Trust that will allow the beneficiary keep receiving government assistance.
You will also be able to exclude your children’s inheritance from equalization should your child separate from their wife/husband.
If you want a friend or charity to receive any assets from your estate, you can make provisions in your will.
Also, you will be able to give the Executor broad powers to administer the estate, including selections under the Income Tax Act which may reduce the income tax payable on your death and during the administration of your estate.
Proper estate planning will allow you to reduce the amount of Estate Administration Tax – also known as probate fees – payable on your death. This is an important consideration given the recent changes to the enforcement provisions of the Estate Administration Tax Act.
Making a will is a process that can save much hardship and confusion for your loved ones. For more information about Wills and Estate Planning, please contact our office.