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Why Make a Will

A Will is a written document which controls the disposal of a person’s property after death. It allows a person to state what should be done with their property and allows you to appoint the person you want to represent your estate after death. There are many reasons why a person should make a Will. If you die without one, Provincial Law will govern the distribution of your property and decide who should represent you. In that case your property may be distributed in a manner contrary to your intentions. The benefits of a Will include:

  • Insure that your intentions are carried out with a minimum expense and delay after your death. A properly drawn Will can save your family and heirs expense after your death.
  • Allows you to name your executor or trustee who will attend to distributing your estate according to your instructions rather than leaving it to someone to make application to the Court for this power.
  • The Provincial Law which governs distribution of a person’s property is inflexible, and benefit only certain blood relatives. A bequest of property to organizations, charities, or to people who aren’t blood relatives, as well as the forgiveness of debts, can only be accomplished through a Will.

Problems respecting the disposition of other assets, such as a business and personal effects such as jewellery or heirlooms, can arise and may be complicated in resolving without a properly drafted Will which clearly sets out the intentions of the deceased. There are many benefits and reasons why a Will should be made. The drafting of a Will involves decisions requiring professional skill and judgement. We suggest that you review your particular requirements with your lawyer. If you have already made a will you should review it from time to time to make sure that it is in accord with your current expectations and needs.

Remember… Some assets pass automatically at death. If the deceased owns a life insurance or another asset such as an RRSP with a beneficiary designated, the proceeds of the policy or asset pass automatically to the designated beneficiary. If the deceased holds a joint bank account, the proceeds of the joint bank account pass to the surviving joint owner of the bank account, usually on presentation to the bank of a death certificate. If the deceased holds real property (land)with another as a joint tenant, the real property passes to the surviving joint tenant simply by survivorship and on the filing of a death certificate and a Request form at the appropriate Land Titles Office. The proceeds of an insurance policy with a designated beneficiary, proceeds of a jointly held bank account, and the real property held by joint tenants would be the subject matter of consideration in a Last Will only on the death of the designated beneficiary or the last owner.

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Notice: The articles on our website are provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or opinion. They reflect the current state of the law as at the date of posting on the website, and are subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion, we would be pleased to provide you with our assistance on any of the issues raised in these articles.