The Importance of Preparing a Will
A 2019 survey found that almost half of all Canadians do not have their OWN Last Will and Testament. A majority of those that do are over the age of 65, and almost no one under the age of 35 does.
Did you notice how we said your “own”?
If someone dies without preparing a Will, they are deemed to die intestate. Wouldn’t you know it, there are intestacy laws applicable to each province that ultimately governs the distribution of your estate in that case. Simply said, the government has a Will made for you if you fail to have your own.
Without having prepared a Last Will and Testament, there is no personal representative appointed who can administer the Estate, so that would get preselected as well regardless of if that is who you would have chosen yourself.
- “What if I have a spouse and no children?”
- “What if I have a spouse and children? And/or perhaps children from another relationship?”
- “What if I am not married?”
- “What if I am not married and my parents have predeceased me?”
- “What if I have absolutely no known family?”
There is a different answer to how your estate would be distributed to each of these questions.
- “Well, what if the order of intestacy laws includes family that I am not close with, do not wish to receive my assets, or would abuse those assets?”
The direct answer is it doesn’t matter, and they will not be excluded from the order preset by government law.
Not preparing a Last Will and Testament can create angst among family and could lead to thousands of dollars in potential costs trying to sort out the matter, during an already difficult and challenging time where emotions are heightened.
It is strongly recommended that you speak to a lawyer to draft a Last Will and Testament (as well as a Power of Attorney and Health Directive) regardless of your age. By making your intentions clear it will eliminate many potential issues. Wills can always be adjusted for new information at a later date as your life changes, but it will ensure your preferences and decisions for your assets are honoured.
Key Findings from the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey- https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/programs/research/canadian-financial-capability-survey-2019.html