Do I Need a Will?
In Canada, if you die without a will you are considered to have died “intestate.” Simply put, this means that your provincial government decides how your assets will be divided—and not you.
Each province has intestacy rules that define your estate’s beneficiaries and how much each is to receive. Usually, this means your legal spouse and biological and adopted children will likely end up with your estate’s assets. Intestacy rules, however, do not take into account any intentions you may have for distributing your assets, including if you planned on giving to your church and other charities that are important to you. Even worse—intestacy can result in additional legal costs for your beneficiaries.
As good and faithful stewards of all that God entrusts to us, having a will ensures that our dependents are looked after as well as the potential to avoid estate taxes which gives you more with which to be generous.
Why is a Will important?
We all need a will — without one someone else will be making the decisions for us.
There are only three places where assets can go: heirs, taxes, or charities. Estate planning helps to make sure that your assets are used as you would like. Without a will, nothing can go to charities.
Having a welled planned will ensures that your dependents/heirs will not experience difficulty in the execution of your will or have unexpected expenses.
What if I already have a Will?
A will is something that, once signed, usually gets put away and not thought about again for many years. Since wills don’t expire, there is no built-in requirement to renew them. But wills should be reviewed and updated from time to time.
An estate advisor can help you review your plans to ensure your dependents are looked after while being as generous as possible by reducing taxes and other expenses.
Estate planning is for everyone whether you have a little or a lot.