November is Make a Will Month in Ontario. This is an opportunity to do what you may have been putting off for several months (or years). We have noticed an increase in interest in Will preparation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and we encourage you to contact us if you would like to prepare a Will in the near future.
A substantial number of Ontarians do not have a Will. If you are one of those individuals, or if you have a Will in need of amending, your lawyer can help you to create a Will that reflects your wishes. There are many benefits of having a Will, including:
- Providing for the ones you care about;
- Preventing arguments between loved ones after you are gone;
- Keeping the government out of your affairs;
- Reducing the costs of administering your estate; and
- Reducing or avoiding probate fees.
Your lawyer will ask you a number of questions before preparing your Will. These include:
- The name of an individual or individuals who you wish to oversee the administration of your estate. These individuals are known as Estate Trustees.
- The individuals whom you wish to benefit from your estate. These individuals are your beneficiaries; and
- If you have minor children, the individual or individuals you wish to appoint to care for your children. These individuals are known as guardians and custodians.
In order to properly prepare your Will, your lawyer will also ask you for a list of the assets that you own. Your list should include items such as bank accounts, real property, life insurance policies, registered retirement savings plans or registered retirement income funds, personal possessions, interests in businesses and investments.
The decisions you must make are significant. Many people procrastinate about preparing or updating a Will because they do not feel prepared. It is often easier to make these important decisions in consultation with someone else. If you are having trouble “getting around to” preparing your Will, make an appointment to speak to a lawyer and have a preliminary discussion. You may find that it is much simpler and more straightforward than you anticipated. Those who have a Will that comprehensively and accurately reflects their wishes have the peace of mind of knowing that they have properly planned for the future.
*The content of this article is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion of any kind. For information or legal advice on your individual circumstances, please contact Our Wills & Estates Law Team.