Wills are fundamental estate planning tools, but a surprising number of Canadians haven’t drawn one up. A survey by Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Co. (LawPRO) suggested an estimated 56% of Canadian adults don’t have a will.
Various reasons have been cited for this oversight. 25% of respondents to a poll by the Angus Reid Institute said that they were “too young” to draw up a will just yet while 23% said that they didn’t have enough assets to justify the time and expense.
This oversight is more problematic than you think. It can lead to family disputes and bitter, expensive legal battles: who can forget the uproar over Prince’s lack of a will when he died?
Why Having a Will Is Important
The best way to illustrate the importance of a will is to outline what could happen if you die without one (also known as dying intestate). Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act governs how your estate will be distributed, so:
- You don’t control who will administer your estate
- You don’t know who your beneficiaries will be
- You won’t know who will be appointed legal guardian of your children
- No estate-planning tax measures will protect the estate
Wills are not just for the rich. Regardless of how many assets you have, a will ensures that they go to your chosen beneficiaries. If you have minor children, having a will becomes especially urgent, because it lets you choose an appropriate guardian for them if you pass away before they reach the age of majority.
Revisiting Your Will
Once your will is drawn up, you will have to revisit it when you reach important life milestones, such as getting married, having children, and buying a home or business. In Ontario, any will that you make before marriage is automatically revoked afterward, unless you specifically mention the upcoming marriage in the will and state that it shall remain valid once you are no longer single.
Visit a Wills and Estates Lawyer in Kitchener
Drawing up a will can be a simple and inexpensive process. A wills and estates lawyer can help you put together a proper and effective estate plan that will determine what happens to your wealth or assets after you pass and protect your minor children personally and financially.
At Ichim Law, our wills and estates team will work with you to create a simple will and estate plan that preserves your legacy and ensures the ongoing well-being of your loved ones. To meet with one of our lawyers and start planning right away, call 519-772-7626.