5 Reasons You Need to Have a Will in Canada

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Updated on October 27th, 2021

Everyone should make a Will, regardless of your financial situation. There are many good reasons to have a Will, and anyone can make one quickly and easily. First we will look at just what you’re getting into when you’re making a Will.

A Will is a legal document that lays out the way your assets and liabilities will be divided up when you die. Your estate is what you own and what you owe, and the purpose of a Will is to set out directions for how your estate will be divided up among your family, friends, charities, or other recipients.

A Will also has the power to legally decide who will take care of your children if you happen to pass away while they are minors (under the age of 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory). For this reason, it is important to make a Will as soon as you have any assets or family that you care about, and to update it after any major life changes.

While it is possible to write a Will on your own, we recommend that you find professional legal help so that the contents of your Will are harder to contest. It would be a shame to make one little mistake that results in someone taking everything, or others being left out of an inheritance.

photo of will documents drafter by a lawyer

Here are Five reasons you need to make a Will:

1)     Without a Will, the government will divide your estate for you.

If you happen to die without a Will, you are considered “intestate”, and the state must take responsibility for the division and parceling of your money, property, and other assets.

While each province and territory has their own specific set of rules for what to do when this happens, there are some generalities that apply to most cases. Usually, the beneficiaries Will be your spouse (or common-law partner) and your children. There is no discretion about who deserves more: there is a formula the court must follow in every province that sets out who gets what.

This also means that any children under the age of 18 or 19, depending on where you live, will be appointed guardians by a judge. In a Will, you can appoint guardians for your children, should anything happen to you and your partner. This is one of the more important reason any parent with young children should have a will – you ought to have a choice in the guardian of your children if the worst should happen.

Making a Will is absolutely necessary because failing to do so means giving up so many important choices about the future of your family to the courts and a judge.

2)     You get to build the future you want for your family

When you make a Will, you get to set out exactly who will get what. You can appoint a trusted friend or family member or even a legal professional to make sure your wishes are followed. This person is called the executor, and anyone who is mentioned in you Will that will receive something is a beneficiary.

In your Will, you can set out who will inherit certain properties or items that you own, as well as all the money in your bank. You can also make sure that family treasures and heirlooms are passed down to the person who loves them or deserves them the most. This can be a crucial step in making sure your children and grandchildren are set up for success in the future, and to pass down memories to the ones who will cherish them.

This is also an important step for mixed families, parents of adopted children, or guardians of children with special needs. A Will is a perfect place to set out ways of looking after the people you care about, regardless of your formal relationships with them.

Alternatively, creating a will is the only way to guarantee that nothing is granted to estranged family members or people that want to take advantage of you and will squander their inheritance.

3)     With no Will, you make a hard time even harder for your family

Bad estate planning can turn a hard time for your family into an absolute nightmare. Everyone has heard horror stories of families where all the trust broke down following the death of a parent or relative.

Money can be a very difficult topic and if there are no clear instructions for who gets what, it can turn into a free-for-all over a dead relative’s belongings and estate. Writing a clear Will is the best way to ensure that there is no confusion or fighting over money and property.

4)     Without a Will, you miss out on establishing trusts and donating to charity

There is more to a will than passing on your wealth to the next generation.

A Will can also contain instructions for donating a part of your estate to charity. This is a popular option for individuals with no children, and when adult children are living comfortably and do not need the inheritance from their parents.

Establishing a trust is also a very good idea when you want to pass on money to young people in the family to help them pay for school, training, or to just get them set up in life after you have moved on. Money held in a trust will only be passed on after the beneficiary has reached a certain age or reached a certain milestone, and doesn’t have to be handed over all at once

Trusts are a great way of ensuring that a portion of your estate will be put towards the exact cause that you want it to, such as the education of your grandchildren or even their children after them – with no opportunity for mom and dad to use the money for something else.

5)     Writing a Will is cheaper and easier than ever before

Lastly, the best reason to get a Will right now is that there are no more excuses not to! What used to be a prohibitively expensive and gruelling process has been made cheaper and easier than ever.

You can make a Will on your own, but if you do not know the process and make a mistake, your Will could be contested in court when you are no longer around to set the record straight.

To avoid all the mess and complications that can come with the dividing of an estate, we suggest that you find a lawyer below and get started on your Will right away!