A will is something that is on many a “to-do” list, but it rarely rises to the top of the list. For many people, just the thought of preparing a will is getting a little too close to admitting that everybody dies someday, you included. Many people rationalize that they are young – or relatively young – and in good health, so there is no hurry. You can get to it later. But if you want your estate distributed the way you really want it to be, the time to prepare a will is now. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. No one likes to think they might die tomorrow, but the cold hard fact is that for every tomorrow that becomes today, people die who did not think they would die tomorrow.
A PROPER WILL IS A CRITICAL PART OF ANY ESTATE PLAN
You might not think you need an estate plan, but a will is the first and most crucial piece of an estate plan. Perhaps your estate is simple enough that a will is the only piece you need. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean you somehow have less of a need to prepare a will. In Canada, if you die without a valid will, you are deemed to be intestate and the province will decide how your estate will be distributed, no matter what your intentions might have been. After all, you are dead, and you did not tell anyone how you wanted to distribute your assets, so you really do not have any say in it.
If you have a spouse and children, some of your estate will go to the children, not your spouse. No will, no choice. If your children are minors, the court will oversee the handling of their inheritance until they are adults. The court will collect fees for this annually, and your spouse will have to ask the court for access to your children’s inheritance to cover the cost of the care of your children. The court will appoint a bonded administrator to execute your estate according to province law, not according to your wishes. That also will be paid for out of your estate.
Without a will, much less a full estate plan, you – actually, your estate, since you will be dead – will bear the full cost of the deemed disposition tax and any income taxes due, which could have been minimized through a proper will or estate plan. Same for probate costs. All of that money paid to courts and the government could have gone to your family if you prepared a will.
None of these things have to happen. You can prepare a will, have it properly witnessed and valid. Then your estate will be distributed the way you actually want it to be. You can avoid court fees, administrative fees, and maybe even some taxes, which can be steep. The choice is yours.
IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT PREPARING A WILL, TALK TO BEGANYI PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
When you decide it is time to prepare a will – and the time is now – you should talk to a qualified wills and estates attorney. Beganyi Professional Corporation is qualified to provide the assistance you need. If you are in the greater Toronto area, including Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Hamilton, and Milton, talk to the professionals of Beganyi Professional Corporation.