Why Everyone Needs a Will and Estate Plan

Face it: You’re not a superhero. You will die some day.

Now that we’ve set that straight, let’s turn our attention to why you need a will.

If you die without a will (called an “intestacy”), provincial legislation prescribes who will get the assets of your estate, which may not necessarily coincide with what you want. This means that your wife (or your mom) could end up with that baseball card collection that she’s complained about for years.

Or your hidden stash of Playboy magazines.

If you have young children, the law says they will receive their inheritance — the whole wad — upon turning 18  or 19, depending on the province. (What would you have done with a load of money at that age?)

But by making a will, you can choose who your beneficiaries are going to be and what they are going to get…and when.

Leaving it all to the kids?
Through the use of testamentary trusts (trusts set up in your will), you can determine at what age your children or other beneficiaries will receive an inheritance and even stagger the amount they get.

Leaving it all to the wife?
Spousal trusts can be set up in wills as a tax-saving tool, and also to protect  your  property if  your wife decides to marry her kick-boxing instructor.

Own shares in the family business?
If you own shares in a private corporation, you can save on tax by creating multiple wills to deal with different aspects of your estate.

To make sure you take advantage of all the available tools, get in touch with a lawyer who specializes in wills.

Keep in mind that a will must be in writing and signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will. In addition, you must have legal capacity when giving instructions and when signing the will, which means if you really think you’re a superhero, you could be in some trouble.

Image courtesy of on2wheelz.

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