Why have a Will?
In our experience, the Will is the most popular legal document that gets put on the back burner. After all, who wants to think about death?
So, why is it so important? your will be drafted to include the following information:
- How your wealth is to be divided up on your death. Without a Will, your wealth is divided based on provincial laws and rules.
- Who will control your estate upon your death/carry out the wishes of your Will (trustee/executor).
- The person who will serve as your child’s guardian while he/she is a minor. If you do not name a guardian there may be a dispute among family members, especially if you and your spouse have both died, as to who is best suited to act as guardian. This dispute may result in court or provincial government involvement.
- Who will manage your child’s finances while he/she is a minor.
- How will your child receive their entitlement (i.e. my jewellery when my daughter turns 16. All monies are to be held in trust until my daugher turns 21 years old, at which point she is to receive one-half of her entitlement and the remainder one-half when she turns 25 years of age).
“In the efforts to make the “Will process” less nerve-reckoning, we allow you to complete most of the process in the comfort of your home. We email you an Estate Analysis questionnaire which you are asked to complete and email back to us (please call us to receive this questionnaire or email Safiyya”.
Below of some of the questions that appear on the questionnaire:
- Who will be the Trustee of your Estate?
- Alternate Trustee of your Estate? (if initial predeceases or is unable to assume duties or if spouse makes statutory entitlement election).
- Specific requests: division of clothing, jewellery, personal effects, household goods, furniture, automobiles, etc. (i.e. all furniture to go to my mother Rose or all items to be sold and proceeds to go to my estate).
- Cash legacies (specific money amounts to specific people or organizations – i.e. $5,000 to my brother, and $2,000 to the Red Cross).
- Residue (monies remaining):
- If spouse and/or children
- Provisions for spouse (outright, in trust, etc.)
- Provisions for children (include age at which they receive capital, etc.)
- Other beneficiaries
- If no spouse or children alive, who will participate?
- Failure clause – if none of above alive or if all die in common accident?
- If spouse and/or children
- Funeral Instructions.
- Custody of children and guardianship of their assets.
Once you have emailed the completed questionnaire back to us, we review it with you. This is where our legal advice and opinion comes into play.
You may meet us in person or we can set up a telephone meeting.
Next, we prepare the preliminary draft of the Will. This is emailed to you, so you may have a first-read of it. The Will is usually 14-16 pages. Once you have read it, we go through the Will, and any concerns and questions you may have. If no other changes are required, we set up a meeting for you to attend at our office, at which time we will review the entire Will again and then you will execute the Will in front of two witnesses.
**Please also see Power of Attorneys. Usually the Will and Power of Attorneys are prepared simultaneously.