What is a Will?

Simply put, a will is a document that you prepare which sets out what happens to your estate after your death. Your estate is comprised of all of your assets minus all of your liabilities. Assets typically include property, money, investments, and anything else you may own. Liabilities typically include loans, mortgages, and money that you owe. Jointly owned property is not part of your estate and flows directly to the surviving joint owner.

It is important to make a will so that your estate is managed in accordance with your wishes. It provides peace of mind throughout your lifetime, and ensures that the people you care about are looked after. Without a will (known as intestacy), your estate will be divided among family members according to provincial rules, which may not accord with your personal wishes. For example, minor children will be entitled to their interest in your estate when they reach the age of majority, even though they may not be ready to manage a large amount of money. This section will cover various topics you should be aware of when planning a will. These topics include:

The important thing to keep in mind is that there is no shortcut to making an effective will. There are many complex rules that apply to wills and estates. As such, a will must be worded carefully and correctly so that it achieves your desired goals. If a will is not clear on certain issues, it may lead to costly estate litigation surrounding its interpretation.

It is therefore essential that you have your will prepared by a lawyer that specializes in will drafting. This will help to ensure that your will achieves exactly what you want it to. If you have any major life changes, it is important to contact your lawyer and have your will updated. These changes can include marriage, divorce, child birth, substantial new assets, the sale of a business, or anything that would make you reconsider your current estate division.