Why do I need a Will?
Having a Will prepared is one of the most important things you can do to protect your family and give you peace of mind that your estate will be taken care of in the event of your death. Having a Will can also be empowering. If you have one, you are in control of who will inherit your possessions, money and other property (your estate) when you die. If you don’t, your estate will be divided through intestacy (in accordance with legislation) and you will have no control over how your estate is distributed.
Many people ignore the significance of having a validly executed Will. Others understand the importance of having one, but procrastinate in actually getting it done. They attempt to justify the procrastination by saying things like: “I don’t have many assets, why should I have a Will?” Or, “I assume everything will go to my spouse anyway, so why should I bother?” The reality is that, in most cases, things just aren’t that simple.
In the case of the person who believes they don’t have enough property to justify making a Will, there are still a number of important reasons to have one prepared. For example, a Will allows one to choose who will be in charge of his or her estate when they die (known as the “Estate Trustee” or “Executor/ Executrix”). In most cases, if a person dies without a Will, someone will have to make an application to the court to be appointed as the Estate Trustee Without a Will. The court application process is often more lengthy, complex and expensive when a person dies without a Will. This can greatly compound the stress already faced by one’s bereaved family members.
The process of making a Will can also be beneficial in that it forces a person to review their overall estate plan, which can include assets which may not form part of the estate like the proceeds of life insurance policies, certain types of investments and jointly owned real estate. Please call Courtis, Desmoulin Law Office today to get started with your Will, toll free: 1-877-266-6646, local: 807-623-3000.
In addition, having a validly executed Will allows the testator (the person making the Will) to:
- Appoint primary and alternate estate trustee(s);
- Provide for the orderly distribution of their estate;
- Delineate terms of support in accordance with any dependent or spousal obligations;
- Minimize the risk of an estate challenge;
- Set out wishes with respect to the future care of any minor children;
- Set out wishes with respect to burial and the payment of funeral expenses;
- Provide for charitable gifts; and
- Give peace of mind and certainty to family members.
What is a Power of Attorney?
While a Will sets out how one’s estate is to be distributed upon death, a Power of Attorney is a legal document that permits someone to act on another’s behalf in the event they become incapacitated during their lifetime. Typically, when a client retains our firm to prepare a Will, we also recommend that a Continuing Power or Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care be prepared.
A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property allows you to appoint someone to make financial decisions on your behalf, while a Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows you to appoint someone to make decisions affecting medical procedures, nutrition, medications and where you live in the event you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
Our lawyers are here to assist and guide you in the preparation of your estate plan. Although our firm is located in Thunder Bay, we regularly provide services to clients throughout Northwestern Ontario. Please call Courtis, Desmoulin Law Office today to get started, toll free: 1-877-266-6646, local: 807-623-3000.