DO I NEED A WILL?
Many adults don’t have a Will, often because they don’t know why one is necessary for them. Mr. Basil Khan, a lawyer licensed by the Law Society of Ontario and founder of Helix Law Professional Corporation, will help you understand the purpose of a Will and why you may benefit from one.
By Author: Jennifer M. Williams
Do You Need a Will?
Your Will is a legal document that defines your wishes concerning the distribution of your estate and guardianship of your children. Your Will is an essential component of your estate planning. Estate planning is the process of making an “estate plan” that details the management and transfer of your estate. Your estate consists of everything that you own, including your home, investment properties, car, bank accounts, life insurance policies, investments, jewelry, paintings, furniture, and other personal property.
Who is named in your Will? You, the person making the Will, are the Testator of your Will. The Beneficiaries are the person(s) who receive the money and assets of your estate after the estate’s debts are paid off, or as otherwise detailed in your Will. The person(s) who handles your estate’s affairs and distributes your estate to the beneficiaries are the Executor(s) (also in most cases referred to as the Trustee). The Guardian(s) is the person(s) whom you appoint to be the Guardian of your minor children and their property.
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a story is worth a million. Here is a demonstration of why you need a Will through four brief fictional stories.
The Importance of Guardianship Appointment
David and Helen are a young professional couple with two infant children. Sadly, they died while on a romantic getaway celebrating their wedding anniversary. Uncle Matt, David and Helen’s only living family member, applied to the court and was granted guardianship over the children. However, unbeknownst to the court, Matt is addicted to heroin. While they were alive, David and Helen didn’t let Matt visit their kids because of his drug problem. Now he has full guardianship over their children. Had David and Helen
made a Will, they could have named who they wanted to be the Guardian of their children. While the appointment of a Guardian under a Will lasts only 90 days, upon application, a Court will consider the express wishes of the parent, among many other factors, in appointing a permanent Guardian of the children.
The Importance of Making Sure Your Assets Go to Whom You Want
Hilda is an 82-year-old widow with a paid- off bungalow and three adult children: Tommy, Franky, and Leena. Franky, the middle child, has been estranged for the last 20 years while Tommy and Leena have been taking care of their mother, both financially and emotionally. He didn’t help take care of her and didn’t even call her on her birthdays. Hilda contemplated a Will in writing and did not want Franky to inherit any part of her estate. Without a Will at the time of her death, Ontario law states that Hilda’s assets get divided equally amongst her surviving children.
The Importance of Will for Common-Law Spouses
Chris and Debbie are a middle-aged common-law couple who fell in love in high school and never bothered to get legally married. Instead of a wedding, they decided to save for their first home, and have since made many investments for retirement. But Chris is killed in a freak accident while on vacation. Debbie, now widowed, remembers that all their investment properties were held by Chris, who was solely on title because of Debbie’s poor credit. The properties did not automatically transfer to Debbie; instead, they went to Chris’ nephews, who are his closest living next of kin. Had Chris made a Will, he could have left all of their investment properties to Debbie.
The Importance of Will for Charitable Intentions
Rajeev invented a new widget right out of university and sold his company to a large tech company for millions, allowing him to retire at 30. He has no children or spouse and no other living next of kin. He’s a very philanthropic individual, spending years donating millions to an animal- rescue charity. Unfortunately, Rajeev succumbed to a rare heart condition. Given that Rajeev had no Will and no living next of kin, the government got all his assets. Had Rajeev made a Will, he could have left his entire estate to the charity he believed so dearly in.
In every case outlined above, making a Will could have avoided all the unintended adverse situations.
Now ask yourself, do you need a Will?
Should You Hire a Lawyer to Draft Your Will?
The choice is yours. There are several things to consider when making your Will. Each person’s circumstances are different. If you have questions or concerns in drafting your Will, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer.
Contact Basil Khan at Helix Law Professional Corporation today to set up a consultation at (647) 351-2047 or email@example.com.
Amir Modonpour has been an insurance broker in the Greater Toronto Area since 2008. He strives to provide quality solutions for his clients, working with them to assess their insurance goals and offer customized insurance plans for his clients...
* The content of this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. The illustrations in this article are but examples of various situations and are not meant to apply to any particular person and their specific situation. Readers are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting Basil Khan and Helix Law Professional Corporation (or their legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues.
* Representation by Basil Khan or Helix Law Professional Corporation begins only after a retainer agreement is entered into.
* All legal services offered at Helix Law Professional Corporation are provided by a lawyer licensed by the Law Society of Ontario. Helix Law Professional Corporation. All rights reserved © 2019.