Do I Need a Will?
Many people ask this question … the answer may surprise you …
If you have a will, you can:
– decide who benefits from your estate.
– give items to certain individuals
– provide for a common law spouse, step-children or children of a common law relationship who are not related to you by blood
– choose your Estate Trustee – also called an Executor
– choose who will be the guardian of your minor children and who will look after their assets.
– ensure flexibility in the administration of your estate
– reduce the cost of administering your estate
– reduce income taxes, particularly if you die leaving a spouse.
If you don’t have a will…
– the person appointed to administer your estate (act as executor) may not be the person that you would have chosen
– immediately after your death, no one will be able to handle your affairs until the Court has appointed someone to be the “Estate Trustee without a will”
– your estate may be divided in ways that may not reflect what you wanted
– relatives that you do not want to inherit may successfully make a claim for a share in your estate
– if you do not have any living relatives or if none can be found, your estate will go to the government
The importance of a will in this day and age cannot be overstated. There are many ways to create a will. If your estate is a “simple” one – one where there is only a modest asset and income base, then you have more options than just hiring a lawyer to create a will document.
Next month … see Holograph wills … what are they and How do they work?
Any questions, contact the Elliot Lake Legal Clinic at 461-3935 or ask Alex! at www.northshorelegal.ca