You remember the old adage – the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes. I assume you pay your taxes every year. But have you addressed the other part of that equation? Or are you one of those people who are putting it off because you don’t want to face the certainty of your own mortality?
Almost three-quarters of North American adults have not made a Will. That’s a frightening statistic, when you consider the consequences of dying intestate (without a Will), and the costs that your loved ones will incur to administer your estate.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have in the way of money and assets, it’s essential that you do a Will to deal with that property upon your death. If you want to ensure that your property and assets go to the right people, in accordance with your wishes, YOU NEED TO MAKE A WILL. Otherwise your estate will be distributed by the courts in the manner prescribed by the laws of succession, and your family and loved ones will have to pay court costs and other charges that could have been avoided if you had made a Will before you died. And this puts additional stress and anxiety on their shoulders, at a time which is already difficult enough to deal with.
4 Most Important Reasons to Make a Will
Making a Will accomplishes the following important goals:
- It appoints an executor of your choice to conduct the distribution of the estate.
- It directs your executor to pay your debts and estate bills (funeral expenses, final tax return, outstanding loans).
- It sets out how you want your remaining assets, money, and property distributed among your family.
- It appoints a guardian for minor children or other dependents.
You Can Do It Yourself
For most people, doing a Will is not an overly complex process. You can draft up your Will using one of our template will kits, which contain instructions to help guide you through the process of estate planning and Will preparation.
If your estate is a complicated one (for example, you own a business operation which will continue on after your death, or you own a lot of property, etc), you should consult a lawyer and discuss establishing one or more trusts, in addition to your Will. It’s also advisable to discuss which type of trust structure would have the most tax benefits for the estate and the beneficiaries.