If you own assets or have young children, a will is perhaps one of the most important documents you will ever create. A will is a legal document through which you can communicate how your possessions are to be distributed after your death. A will may be written as part of a larger estate plan, which also includes your wishes regarding your finances and care should you no longer be able to make those decisions while alive.
More than half of Canadians have delayed creating their wills, claiming, among the reasons, fear of facing their mortality, being too young and just not having the time to do so. Regardless of the reason, postponing the process of writing or updating your will can result in dire consequences for your loved ones once you have passed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus, the immediate need for people to create or update their wills. As the death toll has risen among all age groups across the world, there has been a surge in demand for wills in countries hardest hit by the virus. Some people are only now realizing the wisdom of hiring a wills and estates lawyer and having an estate plan in place. Approximately 8,700 Canadians have died so far from the virus, and sadly, this number may continue to increase.
Due to the uncertainty of life, as demonstrated by the global pandemic, it is imperative that you do not postpone creating or updating your will.
The importance of a will
A will affords you the ability to:
- continue caring for your loved ones in the event of your death.
- decide who gets what property and how each person will benefit from your finances.
- have your favourite charities or clubs inherit from your estate.
- decide on the guardianship of your children who are minors and determine who will control their inheritance until they are of age; provided that both parents are dead. Without a will, the courts will decide on guardianship.
- choose an executor who will handle your affairs once you have passed. You can decide on whom you think most capable and trustworthy to do so, rather than have someone appointed by the courts.
If you are under the misconception that only the wealthy need a will, revisit that notion. Once you have possessions, there is no reason you should not have a will. Regardless of what you own, you can decide who should inherit your belongings.
A person who dies intestate, meaning, without a will, forfeits the control of how his or her property is distributed after death. The intestacy rules must then be applied to determine who benefits from the estate.
If you already have a will, but it is outdated, dust it off! It is important that your will is updated as your circumstances change. Any change in marital or financial status, births and deaths ought to be included.
Do you need help creating a will?
A will is easy to create but must comply with your provincial laws to be valid.
If you are uncertain about will preparation and require the assistance of a wills and estates lawyer in Richmond, contact us at Bernard Lau and Co. Law Corporation. Our experienced team will guide you through the process.