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Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4Z4
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We get it. Thinking about, and planning for, your death can be very uncomfortable. It’s the reason many people “haven’t gotten around to” having their Will prepared - in fact almost half of all Canadians don’t have one.
Having a Will is important because it ensures that your money and belongings are distributed to the people you want to receive them in the way you see fit. If you die without a Will: (1) your intended beneficiaries may not be the ones who inherit your assets, (2) the legal costs to your estate can be much higher, (3) your assets can be tied up for years in litigation before they are distributed, and (4) even if your estate is relatively straightforward, administering your estate after you die without a Will is much more cumbersome (and costly) for your loved ones.
Due to the legal complexity of Wills and estate planning, seeking the advice of an expert is recommended. This is especially true if you’re accumulating significant financial assets, run your own business or you have a unique family situation (i.e. a child with special needs, step-children, or estranged family members).
Even if you’re diligent about updating your Will on your own, there can still be confusion about which draft is your most recent. If you do it through a lawyer, your most recent Will will always be available to whomever you have appointed as your estate trustee(s).
It may sound silly, but it’s actually very common for a self-prepared Will to be lost or misplaced. Either you can lose it or there’s a chance it won’t be found after your death. Your lawyer, however, will always have the originally executed Will on file and ready when needed. In the event of your death, your estate trustee simply has to contact your lawyer for your Will.
Did you know that, in Ontario, a Will must be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries under the Will? It’s possible to completely overlook things in your Will that must be addressed in order for the Will to be valid.
Planning ahead can save you, and your family, a lot of stress. While it may be hard to think about it now, starting the process while you’re healthy is much easier than after age or sickness sets in.
Talk to one of our Wills and Estate lawyers today to get started on your own Will.