You may ask yourself: “what is the importance of a will? Do I really need one?” To answer your question – a will is very important and, yes, you, need one! If you don’t have a valid will when you pass away, it can cause a financial and emotional nightmare for your loved ones.
Dying without a will is called being intestate. This means you have not left instructions on how your assets will be dealt with when you pass away and you haven’t selected anyone to administer your estate. In this case, a family member can apply to court to appoint themselves as an executor. If no family member comes forward, then the Public Trustee is appointed.
When you die without a will, your assets will be disbursed according to the law of your province. The disadvantage of this is that the laws may not reflect your wishes, nor may the law be the best application in your family situation. For example, it doesn’t consider special needs. Another example, sometimes your home may be sold regardless of how real estate market is doing just so the home is distributed as required by the law.
Dying without a will can also be expensive and time-consuming. It can take longer to probate and administer your estate. Also, it may take some time for your beneficiaries to receive their gifts. This can be very frustrating for your loved ones.
If you have children, dying without a will can be a serious issue. If you have minor children, you pass away and there is no surviving parent, the Public Trustee will become the guardian and manager of the assets that your children are entitled to, and child welfare becomes the guardian of their care and upbringing. One of your relatives can also apply to the court to be appointed as the guardian to your children. However, the court will decide what they feel is in the best interest of the children. This experience can be unpleasant for your children, and it’s something you want to avoid.
The above scenarios can be avoided by making sure you have a valid will in place. Call us right away to get your will in order and to ensure that your wishes are clearly laid out in it.