During our ‘accumulation’ years we aim to climb the career ladder and build our assets, deepening our financial pockets so that we have a nice little nest egg. Whatever possessions we build up should be protected so that we can pass them down. The best way to do this is to write a will. Yes, it’s not the most pleasant task but it is extremely important!
In 2018, The Angus Reid Institute found that 51% of Canadians did not have a will in place and only 35% admitted to keeping their will up-to date. This means half of Canadians will have no say in what happens to their assets after they die. As lawyers we’ve seen the negative aftermath of not having a will and how having one is a benefit to both you and your loved ones.
A Will Prevents Intestate Succession
When a person dies without a valid will, Ontario's Succession Law Reform Act dictates how the estate will be divided up. This process is called, “intestate succession”. Most people want to distribute their properties differently to how the province would. A will ensures that your possessions, financial or not, go to the people and organizations of your choice. Intestate succession does not allow for any of your assets to go to friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, schools, or charitable organizations.
Your Will Does More Than Distribute Assets
Wills also allow you to make key appointments, the most notable being an executor. This is someone who takes care of everything on your behalf. Secondly if you have young children your will also states their prospect guardian. Naming an executor in your will is extremely important as they handle the distribution of all your assets and settle any outstanding debts. Many entrust the role of an executor to family members or close friends. If more than one executor is named they become a co-executor, all of whom must act in unison.
There are many formalities for making a valid will, which is why it’s always worth consulting a lawyer. At Sicotte Guilbault we will help you draft your will so that it complies with Ontario laws and, provide the best tax advantages for your estate and heirs. No matter your age or wealth, a will is extremely important and should be updated throughout your lifetime.