There are many benefits attached to having a Will. In fact, it’s a true risk and bad idea not to have one! In recognition of the Ontario Bar Association’s Make a Will Month, we take a look at Wills.

Some benefits of having a will include the power to allow you to:

1. Ensure that your possessions will be distributed in accordance with your wishes

If you pass away without a Will, the law dictates how your estate will be distributed. Although certain property is automatically distributed to a spouse or children, exact distribution depends on the value of property. A Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

2. Appoint and assign powers of an Executor or Estate Trustee, and avoid a lengthy probate process

Designating a trusted and impartial Executor/Estate Trustee to oversee and manage the distribution of your estate may provide peace of mind that your Will will be honoured.

3. Express funeral and burial arrangement wishes

Although such terms are non-binding, specifying these funeral and burial wishes may facilitate their execution for your loved ones, reducing the stress associated with the duty.

4. Dictate who will take care of your minor children by appointing a guardian

A Will serves as the legal guiding document for providing care of minor children should both parents pass away.

5. Minimize payment of estate taxes

The value of what you leave to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.

6. Dictate how your digital assets will be maintained or disposed

Your Will can provide a guide as to your wishes regarding what should happen to your online financial accounts and assets; social media accounts; computer or cloud files and images; and access to all of the above provided to family and friends.

7. Address complex issues such as global assets and providing for dependants with disabilities

It’s wise to have a separate Will addressing assets, including bank accounts and real estate, in a different jurisdiction or country as there are varying tax implications for those assets as well as for heirs that live in a different jurisdiction. In addition, a Will serves as a useful tool to put in place for the care of a dependent with a disability, formalizing the financial and personal care arrangements for the person.

8. Minimize the stressful aftermath of death on family and friends during a difficult time

RPL is Ontario’s leading law firm in co-ownership of residential and commercial property. We have helped hundreds of clients create their unique Will & structure their estates in light of their business & property portfolios. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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