Make a Will

Do you have a will?  If not, why not?

We tend to put off doing things that are unpleasant, for obvious reasons.  Death does not make us think happy thoughts.  No-one likes thinking about death, let alone planning for it.  Making a will means thinking about death, so making a will is a To-Do that always seems to stay at the bottom of the list.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you want to make it more difficult and time-consuming for your executor to administer your estate?
  2. Do you want your estate to spend more money than necessary on legal fees and court costs?
  3. Do you want to let someone else (the scheme created by the Ontario government) to determine how your estate gets distributed?
  4. Do you know, with certainty, when you are going to die?

I’m going to assume that you answered “No” to the first three questions.  That means you need a will.  If you said “No” to the fourth question, it means that you need one now. 

Some couples think that they should wait until they are finished having children before they do wills.  That is a mistake.  Most wills do not specifically name your children: they refer simply to “my children”.  The will is likely drafted in a way that works even if you don’t have children. 

Don’t wait to make a will because you think you will have to change it later and you’d rather wait until later to avoid making the change.  It is easy and often quite inexpensive to make changes to a will, should it become necessary.

Steer clear of those $35 “Make-a-Will Kits” too.   They’re like anything else you do yourself: you get what you pay for; the quality of the work is determined by your ability and knowledge; there are no guarantees; and, worse than other DIY projects, if you screwed it up, by the time that the mistake is discovered, you’re already dead and you don’t get an opportunity to bring in the professional to clean up your mess.

Your lawyer may be able to recommend some estate planning strategies that will save you many times more money than the cost of doing the wills.  Yes, it is possible to walk out of your lawyer’s office better off than when you walked in!

Don’t wait to do your will.  Do it now and turn that nagging “To-Do” into peace of mind.

Ian Johncox, Civil Litigation/Employment Lawyer/Mediator

Ian Johncox, Civil Litigation/Employment Lawyer/Mediator

Ian practices in the areas of employment law, occupier liability defence, franchise litigation and contract litigation. Ian is a trained mediator and conducts mediations in a wide range of civil (non-family) cases. His employment law practice includes acting for employers and employees, which gives him a balanced perspective to his clients’ issues.

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