A will is a legal document that is signed in accordance with specific rules. Without a will in place, someone will have to settle your estate with no guidance from you. Having a will in place prior to your death won't be of any benefit to you but your family will certainly appreciate it!
Many people are reluctant to have a will drawn up for one or more of the following reasons:
A good place to start before you create a will is with our Will Planning Questionnaire. Use this worksheet to help you determine the duties of your executor, distribution of your assets and other pertinent information.
Once you create your will, it should be kept in a lawyer’s safe or in a safety deposit box, which can be a bit of a quandary at times. Nobody can go into the deceased’s safety deposit box except for the executor, but you may not know who the executor is until you open the box and read the will.
If this is the case, you may need to make an appointment at the bank and take a copy of the death certificate with you. Once the box is opened, the bank staff may keep the contents confidential until a copy of the will is retrieved and the name of the executor has been verified.
Without a will in place, someone will have to settle your estate with no guidance from you.
Creating a will is not always a straight-forward matter. There are some details that you may want to consider, such as the following.
Marriage may or may not revoke a will, depending on the province or territory in which you live. Divorce does not revoke a will, but clauses in your will pertaining to your ex-spouse may become void. Upon divorce or separation, it’s usually advisable to make a new will.
The powers you grant under an enduring power of attorney should not be in conflict with the provisions of your will or any other instructional documents. Any assignments of authority you may wish to give, and other important instructions you may have, should be made part of your will.
Don’t leave the will at home or in the office. One copy should be retained by you, and if appropriate, another given to your executor. Write on the copy where the original signed will is kept and tell your executor where it is. Where available, take advantage of placing your will in your province’s will registry.