All About Estates

So You Died Without a Will…

In my Blog of October 7, 2010, I spoke about why you should avoid being part of the 30% of Canadians who don’t have a Will.  In that Blog I spoke about who gets your estate if you die without a Will.  I also briefly mentioned some other issues that arise if you don’t have a Will.  There are a number of other reasons for you to stop procrastinating and to start the process of getting a competently drafted Will in place. 

A Will allows you to provide for beneficiaries with special circumstances such as handicapped children or children with drug problems or creditor issues, etc..   A Will may be structured so as to ensure a disabled beneficiary’s continued receipt of government benefits is maintained or it may be structured to protect a beneficiary’s inheritance from the claims of others, such as a creditor or an estranged spouse.

A Will allows you to name those persons whom you want to be involved in the administration of your estate presumably because they understand your philosophy behind the management of property; without a Will the persons whom can apply to be the administrator of your estate are determined by law.  As I said in October, there are costs involved in appointing an administrator.  For example, bonding may be required and non-resident persons cannot be administrators.  

A Will allows you to appoint guardians for your minor children.  Otherwise your family (and more importantly, your children) may never know whom you thought would be the most appropriate to look after your minor children in the event of your death.

A Will allows you to give certain beneficiaries (and your executors if you so intend) the right to have the first option to purchase assets from the Estate, for instance, the family cottage.  It can also establish a structure that will allow successive generations of a family to continue to use a particular asset, such as the family cottage.

In the end, having a competently drawn Will allows you to dispose of your assets on your death in a way that takes advantage of opportunities for the effective transfer of those assets in a manner which minimizes, to the extent possible, income taxes and other administrative fees and addresses the particular needs of your beneficiaries, in the manner you intend.

So stop worrying about tempting fate and get yourself a competently drafted Will.

Happy Thinking

Corina Weigl

About Corina Weigl
Corina Weigl is a partner in the Trusts, Wills, Estates and Charities group at Fasken, a leading international law firm with over 650 lawyers and 9 offices worldwide that offers comprehensive estate planning, estate administration, personal tax planning, charitable giving and estate litigation services. Email: