Why Have a Will?

A will controls who receives your property after you pass away. It can include not only family but friends, charities and other organizations.

If you do not have a will then the court will dispose of the deceased's assets, according to the current provincial laws. Common situations that may occur when there is no will are:

  • Your spouse outlives you and you either have no children, or all of your children are from your current spouse. Your spouse then gets your entire estate.
  • If your spouse outlives you and you have children who are not from your current spouse then your estate is divided between these children and your spouse, with the majority of the estate going to your spouse.
  • If your spouse passes away before you then your estate goes to your children.
  • If you do not have any surviving spouse/children then your estate is divided among your blood relatives (e.g. mother, father, brothers and sisters).
  • NOTE: without a will you cannot control who receives your property after you pass away.

There are other reasons why people should have a will:

  • You can explicitly choose the Executor (the person who is appointed to execute the will).
  • You can specifically name the beneficiaries of your estate.
  • You can name a legal guardian for your children.
  • You can make sure that your family is financially taken care of after you pass away.
  • You can minimize family stress after you are gone.
  • A will is an integral part of estate management (e.g. tax deferral, etc.).
  • Financial losses can occur if property must be sold when the market is poor.
  • You can ensure that estate shares for your children are held in trust until they are older than 18 (the age at which they receive estate shares if there is no will).

Finally, a will makes sure that the deceased's wishes concerning their estate are carried out in the most efficient manner possible.


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