April 11, 2018

By: Jennifer Foster

A carefully planned will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. While there are many reasons why this is true, this brief article explains the three most important reasons why everyone should think carefully about planning their estate.

  1. Your estate reflects your legacy

A will is a legally binding document that allows you to determine exactly how and to whom your property is distributed in the event of an unfortunate and often unexpected death. Everyone has intentions about how they would like their property to be distributed, but without a will these intended desires may not be fulfilled, and assets will be subject to the default distributions set out in provincial legislation.

Careful planning is required to address issues that arise in the context of common law relationships, second marriages or common law relationships involving blended families, and dependent persons. Without a will, the law will not recognize friends, extended family, or charitable causes in the distribution of the estate.

A carefully planned will allows your legacy to live on. It not only protects the interests of loved ones, but also reflects the values of the testator.

  1. A will decreases the chance of family feuds and estate litigation

It is sad how many families face legal disputes following the death of a loved one. Fortunately, an estate lawyer can help plan a comprehensive will to avoid litigation and prevent family disputes.

Estate litigation can be a very costly financial process, taking years to resolve as the issues wind through the court system. Working with an estate lawyer to develop a detailed estate plan is the best way to avoid future legal disputes. In very difficult times for families, a will can help create peace of mind and assurance that their wishes are being carried out as intended.

  1. The future is uncertain and it is important to look out for loved ones who are minors

A will allows parents to decide who should take care of their minor children if the unthinkable were to happen. A will allows parents to make informed decisions about who they would select to raise their children in the event of a tragedy.

Dependents and minors have very specific estate rights and restrictions. A key benefit of having a lawyer help plan your estate is consideration of legal tools, such as trusts, that can address the unique needs of dependent family members and ensure that the value of your assets of the estate is maximized for minor beneficiaries.