NC – No matter what the size of your estate, every adult should have a will, say specialists in this field. Without one you risk leaving distribution decisions to an impersonal formula, with the government writing the terms.
A valid will ensures your property will be dealt with according to your wishes and with a minimum of complications and expense for your estate. Without a will, your spouse may not receive as much as you would wish, your heirs will receive fixed percentages, regardless of their needs, and a court appointed administrator will handle your affairs. In making a will, it is important to give careful thought to what persons, needs or organizations you would like to benefit. It is best to consult a lawyer or notary to ensure your will is properly drawn—and this is much less expensive than most people imagine.
Here are 10 reasons for drafting a will:
1. It’s your property: A will guarantees that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
2. Children/Grandchildren: A will provides for the care of any children who are minors, enabling you to choose a guardian. Should both parents die, it assures the children do not become a ward of the Court.
3. Speedy settlement of affairs: Without a will, lengthy court delays could create undue hardship for your family.
4. Estate planning: When skillfully drafted, a will allows you to incorporate tax-saving measures and avoid unnecessary taxes, resulting in increased funds for your beneficiaries.
5. Simplified distribution of your estate: By providing a blueprint and a list of directions, families will not have to guess about what you wanted.
6. Peace of mind: A certain peace of mind comes from knowing that you’ve drafted a will that sets out your true intentions.
7. Questions of capacity: If a person loses mental capacity, it’s not legally possible to write a will.
8. Supporting your favourite causes: A will assures that you can continue to help organizations you have believed in during your lifetime, such as a health, education, or sports charity, or to help a human rights organization like Amnesty International.
9. Relieving any burden on your family: Reviewing the contents and nature of your estate and making known your decisions ahead of time for its disposition makes it easier on other family members.
10. Ability to be creative: There are relatively few rules that limit a testator’s (person who writes a will) ability to make creative, thoughtful dispositions of property.
You can receive a free information package on wills and bequests by writing to Amnesty International, 1992 Yonge Street, Suite #310, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1Z7.