Willezy

Table of Contents

WILL BASICS

1. Why should I have a Last Will & Testament?

A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. It can also help to avoid conflict and confusion among your loved ones. In Ontario, everyone over the age of 18 can have a Will, regardless of marital status, income, or assets.

Here are some of the reasons why it is so important for people living in Canada to have a Will:

  • To ensure that your wishes are respected. Without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your province, which may not be what you want. For example, if you have a common-law partner, they may not be entitled to inherit anything from you if you don’t have a Will
  • To protect your minor children. If you have minor children, you can use your Will to appoint a guardian for them. This is especially important if you have a single parent or if you and your spouse both die at the same time.
  • To minimise the burden on your loved ones. Dealing with a death is a difficult time for everyone involved. By having a Will, you can make the process a little bit easier for your loved ones by outlining your wishes and appointing an executor to manage your estate.
  • To avoid conflict. If you don’t have a Will, there is a greater chance that your loved ones will disagree about how your assets should be distributed. This can lead to conflict and resentment. By having a Will, you can help to avoid this by clearly stating your wishes.

Here are some additional benefits of having a Will:

  • You can name specific people or organizations to inherit your assets.
  • You can appoint an executor to manage your estate.

A Will is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones.

2. When should I make my Last Will & Testament?

A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. It can also help to avoid conflict and confusion among your loved ones. It is important to have a Will in place, regardless of your age or marital status. However, there are certain times in life when it is especially important to make or update your Will.

Here are some of the most common times when people make or update their Will:

  • Getting married or divorced. When you get married, your spouse automatically becomes your beneficiary, unless you specify otherwise in your Will. If you get divorced, you should update your Will to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
  • Having children. When you have children, you should appoint a guardian for them in your Will. This is especially important if you have a single parent or if you and your spouse both die at the same time.
  • Buying or selling property. If you buy or sell property, you should update your Will to reflect your new assets.
  • Inheriting assets. If you inherit assets, you should update your Will to reflect your new assets and to name beneficiaries for these assets.
  • Experiencing a major life change. If you experience a major life change, such as a job loss, a serious illness, or a move to a new province, you should review your Will to make sure it still meets your needs.

It is also a good idea to review your Will every three to five years, or more often if you experience any major life changes. This will help to ensure that your Will is up-to-date and that it reflects your current wishes.

Here are some additional tips for making or updating your Will:

  • Talk to your loved ones. Before you make or update your Will, talk to your loved ones about your wishes. This will help to avoid any surprises or conflict after you are gone.
  • Choose an executor. An executor is the person who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in your Will. Choose someone who is trustworthy and organised, and who is willing to take on the responsibility.

Making or updating your Will is an important part of estate planning. By taking the time to do this, you can ensure that your wishes are respected and that your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone.

3. What are the basic terms involved in a Last Will & Testament?

A Last Will & Testament is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. It can also help to avoid conflict and confusion among your loved ones.

Here are some of the basic terms involved in a Last Will & Testament document:

  • Testator: The person who creates the Will.
  • Beneficiary: The person or entity that receives assets from the testator’s estate.
  • Executor: The person responsible for carrying out the testator’s wishes as outlined in the Will.
  • Guardian: The person responsible for raising and caring for the testator’s minor children after their death.
  • Bequest: A gift of specific assets, such as money, property, or investments, to a beneficiary.
  • Devise: A gift of real estate to a beneficiary.

Other terms that may be used in a Last Will & Testament document include:

  • Codicil: A document that amends or updates a Will.
  • Trust: A legal arrangement that allows the testator to transfer assets to a trustee to be managed for the benefit of a beneficiary.
  • Intestate: A person who dies without a Will.

4. Do I need a lawyer to create my will in Ontario?

In Ontario, Canada, you do not need a lawyer or notary to prepare a legal Last Will and Testament. You can write your own Will, as long as it meets certain requirements. Depending on your requirements, you could use self-service tools or engage a legal professional to help with your will. 

The benefits of an online self-service tool include the convenience, affordability, relative user-friendliness. If you have a more complex situation such as receiving disability benefits, or beneficiaries with serious gambling / addiction issues, it is better to work with a legal professional to craft your will.

Whichever way you choose, It is important to review your Will regularly and to update it as needed. For example, if you get married, divorced, or have children, you should update your Will to reflect these changes.

  • You should also keep your Will in a safe place where it can be easily found after your death.
  • It is a good idea to tell your executor where you keep your Will.

Please note: While online will tools can be a great way to create a legal Will, it is important to note that they are not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions about your Will or about estate planning in general, you should consult with a lawyer.

5. How will my will be used in Ontario after my passing?

Having a Will is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones after you die. A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death. It can also help to avoid conflict and confusion among your loved ones.

Here is how your Will will be used in Ontario after your death:

  1. Your Will will be probated. Probate is the legal process of proving that your Will is valid and enforceable. This process is typically handled by your executor, who is the person you have appointed to carry out your wishes as outlined in your Will.
  2. Your assets will be gathered. Once your Will has been probated, your executor will gather your assets. This may include things like your bank accounts, investments, real estate, and personal belongings.
  3. Your debts will be paid. Your executor will use your assets to pay any debts that you owe. This may include things like credit card bills, loans, and mortgages.
  4. Your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries. Once your debts have been paid, your executor will distribute your remaining assets to your beneficiaries according to your instructions in your Will.

It is important to note that if you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in Ontario. This means that your assets may not be distributed in the way that you would have wanted.

Here are some tips for making sure that your Will is followed after your death:

  • Make sure your Will is valid and enforceable. This means that it should be signed by you and two witnesses, and it should be dated and notarized.
  • Keep your Will in a safe place where it can be easily found after your death.
  • Tell your executor where you keep your Will.
  • Review your Will regularly and update it as needed. For example, if you get married, divorced, or have children, you should update your Will to reflect these changes.

By having a Will in place, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone.

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