This blog is contributed by Sally Lee LLB, an Estate & Trust Consultant at Scotiatrust.
I once got into a heated argument with my sister who wanted me to validate her decision to make a Will with a Will Kit. I vehemently opposed, and we did not speak for about a month. My sister’s rationale was that the Will Kit would allow her to have a Will in place until she retained a lawyer to properly draft one. My sister is married with two minor children.
At the time, without even seeing what was in a Will Kit, I came to a conclusion that paying $99 for a “Will” was beyond inadequate to meet her estate planning needs. More recently, I was provided with a Will Kit from a colleague and curiosity got the better of me.
The Will Kit came with: 1) instructions; 2) documents aka the “Will”; 3) Enduring Power of Attorney Documents; 4) Living Will Documents; and 5) My Final Wishes and Instructions. I do not have enough space to point out my plethora of concerns with the kit. One thing, however, stood out to me. The Will is executed and witnessed before the disposition of the estate (which was effectively a new page with blank space). If a Will does not purport to dispose of the testator’s assets, is it really a Will? I would answer this question in the negative.
Needless to say, educating your loved ones about estate planning is crucial. Self-diagnosis, in the complex world of estate planning, is a pathway to disaster. Ensure that your loved ones obtain proper advice and planning with a lawyer.