While the reason for preparing a Will may vary from person to person, here are 9 reasons to have a Will in place.
1. A Will is an opportunity for you to choose what happens to your money when you pass away. When you pass away intestate or without a Will, you lose that opportunity, and your estate is distributed to your next of kin as set out in the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act. Therefore, you risk your estate being distributed in a manner you would not agree with.
2. A Will is an opportunity for you to choose who will administer your estate. Without a Will, a court will appoint your Executor, and an Executor has the biggest role in the distribution of your estate.
3. A Will is an opportunity for you to choose who will take care of your children. Absent a Will, a court will appoint a family member or provincially-appointed Guardian for your minor children.
4. A Will saves time and money. Having a Will makes administering your estate much easier and significantly less expensive.
5. A Will can minimize taxes. Proper Will planning can minimize income tax and estate administration tax or probate fees, which is an opportunity for you to increase the value of your estate for your beneficiaries to enjoy.
6. Charitable donations. A Will is an opportunity for you to make charitable gifts, which may allow your legacy to live on, reflect your personal values and interests, and has tax benefits to boot.
7. Disinherit individuals who would otherwise inherit. Absent a Will, your estate may end-up in the wrong hands or may pass to an unintended beneficiary, such as an estranged family member or ex-spouse.
8. Major life events. Any significant change in your life circumstances, such as a family birth, adoption, death, divorce or separation, may necessitate making or changing your Will.
9. Because tomorrow is not promised. Sometimes the realization that a Will is necessary comes too late such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. As long as you have the required mental capacity, a Will can be made or changed at any time.