The Importance of Creating a Will
A 2015 research report undertaken by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce found that almost half of Canadians do not have a will in place
Of that group without wills, the report also finds that almost half believe they are too young to justify a will or don’t believe a will is necessary because of their limited possessions. Others believe that all of the assets automatically transfer to a surviving spouse.
These are common misconceptions.
It is important to remember that virtually everyone leaves an estate upon their death even if they have few assets. Even the smallest estate can be a headache for the beneficiaries if there is no will in place.
Ideally everyone should seek professional advice and develop an estate plan that ensures an orderly transfer to heirs. In the long run the cost of this advice can be less than the cost of unnecessary taxes and fees that may arise if no estate plan is in place.
There are other consequences that may arise if you do not have a will. Here are 4 points to remember:
- Without a will there is no executor and must be appointed to act as administrator of your estate. The right to administer the estate is determined by law. This process can take time and delay settlement of the estate significantly.
- The public guardian can decide who will become guardian for any minor children who survive you and the public trustee becomes involved in your child’s financing, taking a portion of your estate as their fee.
- If you are in a common law relationship your common law partner may receive nothing from your estate, even it that had been your wish.
- You cannot include or exclude beneficiaries as you desire. The administrator of your estate will make that decision
In effect you will have lost all control of your assets and your family’s future. Someone else will make those decisions on your behalf and they may be nothing like what you envisioned.
However with almost half of Canadians with no form of will in place, expecting everyone to suddenly enlist the services of an estate planning lawyer is optimistic at best.
At the very least a will should be drawn up with some guidance to ensure that at least the basics are covered. The same applies to a power of attorney. A disability that prevents an individual from acting in their own financial interest can be as traumatic as dealing with an estate.
A Simple First Step - LawDepot lets you easily customize legal documents
One problem is that very few Canadians know where to find any kind of help with these challenging issues. We suggest looking at Law Depot. They offer a wide variety of high quality legal forms online. Simply select those that you need and you are ready to start.
“More than 2 million people have used LawDepot to create over 4 million legal documents and save over a billion dollars in legal fees. Whether you are interested in protecting your estate, managing a rental property, setting up a business, or any other situation requiring legal forms, LawDepot's extensive library of documents and legal resources are able to assist you with your legal needs”.