The old saying goes that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. While almost everyone files their taxes every year, over half of North Americans have not addressed that other certainty, and continue to put off making a Will.
No one wants to think about their own demise, but if you don’t deal with this before you die your family will have to deal with it afterwards. And the sad fact of the matter is that settling your affairs if you die intestate can be a very complicated and drawn out process.
If you don’t have a legal will in place before your death, your estate will be administered in accordance with the laws of succession that apply in your jurisdiction. This distribution may not be done the way you would have wanted.
Succession laws generally determine the legal heirs in the following order of priority: spouse, children, parents, siblings. If none of those are living, the next in line would be the next closest blood relatives.
You may want to leave part of your estate to a foster child or a step-child, but unless you set that out in a Will, he or she may not be in line for any inheritance.
And what about those charities that you’d like to leave something to? Well, they definitely won’t get a cent from your estate unless you draw up a Will and put it in writing.
Making a Will does not have to be difficult or expensive. A downloadable Will Kit will do the job for most people. MegaDox.com’s Will Kits for Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are available online, are straight forward and easy to use, and can be downloaded right onto your home computer.
If you have a large estate, or if you’re considering setting up complicated trust structures, you should consult a lawyer. For the rest of us, these complete legal will kits will do the job nicely. They contain instructions for ensuring that your Will is properly executed and witnessed, and information about other estate planning matters.