If there is anything we have learned from the past year, it is that life can change drastically without much notice. This unfortunately includes our personal health and wellbeing. This idea of rapid change and the question of what awaits around the corner, has forced many Canadians to look and their planning and preparedness for the future. This includes their personal wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of their family members.

Having a legal document (a Will) that expresses your intentions regarding the distribution of your property and money after death, as well as who is appointed as the legal guardian of any minor children is an important step in preparing for the future.

A final Will and testament is important for any adult to have, regardless of the amount of money and property you have. This legal document will ensure your wishes are heard and followed. With a Will, you have the ability to assign which family members, friends and even charitable organizations will receive what portion of your property, including naming who will inherit specific personal belongings like your grandfather’s watch or that set of silverware that has been handed down for generations.

In your Will, you are able to name an executor (the individual) who will be responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out and that your affairs are all in order. This includes anything from paying off any outstanding bills to cancelling your credit cards and other personal services.

If you have children that are minors, a Will is extremely important. You are able to choose who your children’s legal guardian will be in the case where you pass away before they become of legal age. You can also include contingencies in your Will, for example in the case that the individual you nominate to be guardian is unable or unwilling to take on the responsibility, you can name a secondary individual to take on that role.

Without a Will, the decisions regarding the distribution of your property will be left to the courts. In Ontario, the Succession Law Reform Act dictates the distribution of your property amongst your surviving relatives. Even if you wish for your property to be divided according to provincial law, it is important to have a Will that expresses your wishes. Your Will helps avoid any delays and costs associated with the courts settling your affairs.

A Will is relatively inexpensive to have prepared. To ensure your Will is legal and clearly outlines your wishes, you should consult a family law attorney that has experience in preparing Wills.

Your Will may not be a one and done document. As life changes, so may your circumstances and your wishes. Revisit your Will periodically to ensure your written wishes still reflect your current desires. Finally, your last Will and testament is of no use to anyone, if no one knows where to find it. Ensure that your family members and your executor are aware of where it is kept.

It is important to have a last Will and testament to ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance to your wishes and to prevent your family from enduring any unnecessary hardships, delays and costs that often arise when your affairs are left in the hands of the provincial courts. At AGS Law we offer comprehensive services for family law in Barrie and South Eastern Ontario, our team will provide you with legal guidance and assist with preparing your Will. Please give us a call today 705-735-0003 and let us help you.