Do You Have a Will? Estate Planning: A Critical Tool to Protect Your Family’s Wealth
Most Canadians know they should have a will, but like regular exercise and healthy eating, it’s a good habit that many of us put off for another day. The problem is that you never know when your family will need your will. And if you don’t have one then you’re setting them up for a catastrophic financial situation. Zayouna Law offers will and estate planning services that will protect your family when you’re no longer able to.
Making a will doesn’t just give you peace of mind, it lets your family know they’ll be protected after your death. A will not only elects who you want as your executor (the person to handle your affairs once you’re gone), it also appoints a legal guardian for any minors if something should happen to both you and your spouse, as well as specifies how you wish to distribute your assets.
Do you have any organizations or charities you would like to leave money to? Would you like to set up care for older relatives? These are details that can be specified in your will, wishes that may not be known by those you leave behind. Your will is your way of making sure your interests are taken into account even after you’ve passed.
What happens if you don’t have a will?
Not having a will in Canada can be disastrous. Most people don’t realize that without a will your provincial government decides how your estate is handled and that doesn’t always mean everything gets ceded to your spouse.
The only assets that are automatically transferred to your partner are those that were held jointly, unless you’re a resident of Quebec. This could leave your family in an undesired financial and legal situation.
If for instance, you were to die without a will, your spouse may only get $200,000 from your estate, which is the maximum estimate for some provinces (in some provinces this amount is as low as $40,000). The rest of the money in your estate would go into a trust for any minor children and would only be released when they reach the age of majority.
If your spouse relies on you as a financial provider, they may have to petition the court each year for money to pay bills, each time incurring administration fees as well as legal ones. These costs will add up quickly.
Common law woes
Not all provinces recognize common-law spouses, so depending on your province of residence, you may be leaving your family with a lot of financial and legal woes if you don’t have a will.
Creating your will is the first, and possibly most important, step in estate planning. There are a number of variables when creating your will and the best way to make sure you and your family are protected is to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Do-it-yourself wills are easily contested in court
While do-it-yourself wills may seem like a good idea, they are easily contested in court and can result in extra tax and legal fees. On the other hand, your lawyer has the experience and knowledge to structure your will in such a way as to minimize probate and taxes, ensuring that the majority of your estate stays with your family where it belongs.
You never know when you’ll need a will. Don’t wait another second. Contact the lawyers at Zayouna Law to make an appointment to protect your family and estate.