Northwest Calgary Wills Lawyer Answers Your Questions
A will is a legal written statement of how you want your possessions and affairs distributed upon your death. It also considers who should be the executor of your estate and who will be the guardian of any minor children you may have.
Why Do You Need a Will?
If you have a will, you can be certain about how your estate will be divided. You are the person who is best equipped to know in what manner all your assets should be distributed.
If you die without a will, your possessions will be distributed according to the Wills and Succession Act, and this often leads to results that are quite surprising.
2. Cost Savings
When no will exists, you are said to die intestate, whereby the court will appoint an estate administrator to deal with all of your possessions and affairs. Legal disputes arising out of figuring out the estate distribution and/or child guardianship can be very costly and reduce the size of your estate.
3. Guardianship Selection
If you have children, this is the most important reason to have a will. You get to choose who will take care of your children after your death and ensure adequate provisions for them.
4. Recent Marriage
If you have been recently married, you may wish to consider preparing a new will.
Marriage used to invalidate any previous wills you may have had. This is no longer the case for marriages that occurred on or after February 1, 2012.
One problem that can arise is that if you and your spouse both die in a joint accident, all of the assets that you own will likely only go the family of one of you, to the exclusion of the other family. A will ensures that your assets are divided according to what you think is equitable.
5. Recent Divorce
The law recently changed so that divorce will revoke a bequest to a divorced spouse for a divorce that occurred on or after February 1, 2012.
6. Naming of an Executor
In your will, you can appoint someone to be your executor. This is the person who will take care of and distribute your estate after your death.
You should name someone you know and trust to be your executor, as they will ensure that your estate is distributed properly.
While a will allows you to dispose of your estate in many different ways, there are laws in place that require certain things to be done with your estate. Each province and country has its own laws regarding this.
For example, the costs of your legally enforceable debts and your burial must be borne out of your estate before beneficiaries receive anything.
In addition, if you have any dependents (young children, spouses, adult interdependent partners—common-law partners—or dependent adults) in your care, the law requires you to make provisions for them after your death. If you do not make provisions for them in your will, then the law will override the will to the extent necessary to take care of your dependents.
A lawyer can help ensure that your will takes those laws properly into account.