Estate Planning
5 minutes reading time

What is a Will and Why Do You Need One?

Written by
The Tabuchi Law Team
Published on
February 3, 2023

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that tells people what you want to happen with your stuff after you die. You can use a will to:

  • Leave your stuff to specific people, such as family members or friends.
  • Leave money to charities.
  • Set up a trust fund for your children or other loved ones.
  • Name a guardian for your minor children.

Why Do You Need a Will?

You need a will for many reasons, even if you're young and healthy. Here are a few:

  • To ensure your stuff goes to the people you want it to. If you don't have a will, the government will decide who gets your stuff and might not give it to the people you want.
  • To avoid probate. Probate is a legal process that can be time-consuming and expensive. A will can help you avoid probate.
  • To name a guardian for your minor children. If you have minor children, you can use your will to name a guardian for them. This is important because it will ensure that your children are cared for if you die before they reach the age of majority.
  • To protect your assets. A will can help protect your assets from creditors and other lawsuits.
  • To leave a lasting legacy. A will can help you leave a lasting legacy by allowing you to donate money to charities or set up a trust fund for your loved ones.

The Benefits of Having a Will

Here are some of the benefits of having a will:

  • You can control who gets your stuff. Without a will, the government will decide who gets your property and might not give it to the people you want.
  • You can name a guardian for your minor children. If you have minor children, you can use your will to name a guardian for them. This is important because it will ensure that your children are cared for if you die before they reach the age of majority.
  • You can protect your assets. A will can help protect your assets from creditors and other lawsuits.
  • You can leave a lasting legacy. A will can help you leave a lasting legacy by allowing you to donate money to charities or set up a trust fund
  • You can reduce the stress on your loved ones. After you die, your loved ones will be grieving and dealing with many emotions. Having a will can make things easier for them by letting them know what you want to happen with your stuff.
  • You can avoid family disputes. Your family members may disagree about distributing your stuff if you don't have a will. This can lead to conflict and even lawsuits. Having a will can help avoid this by clearly stating your wishes.

Example 1: Ensuring the Financial Security of Your Loved Ones

If you have a family, you want to ensure they are financially secure after you die. A will can help you do this by allowing you to leave your assets to your loved ones as you see fit. For example, you could leave everything to your spouse or divide your assets equally among your spouse and children. You could also set up a trust fund for your children so that they have access to money for their education and other expenses.

Example 2: Avoiding Probate

Probate is a legal process required when someone dies without a will. It can be a time-consuming and expensive process, and it can also be stressful for your loved ones. A will can help you avoid probate by clearly stating how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.

Example 3: Protecting Your Assets

If you have valuable assets, such as a home, business, or investments, you want to protect them from creditors and other lawsuits. A will can help you protect your assets by allowing you to transfer them to a trust fund or to a loved one who will manage them on behalf of your beneficiaries.

Example 4: Leaving a Lasting Legacy

A will can also help you leave a lasting legacy. For example, you could leave money for a charity you support or set up a scholarship fund in your name. You could also leave specific items to your loved ones, such as heirlooms or jewelry.

How to Create a Will in Ontario

To create a will in Ontario, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. You can write your own will or have a lawyer write it. If you write your own will, follow Ontario's legal requirements for a valid will.

What to Include in Your Will

Your will should include the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The names and addresses of your beneficiaries
  • A list of your assets and how you want them to be distributed
  • The name of your executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes
  • The name of your guardian for your minor children (if applicable)

Signing and Witnessing Your Will

Once you have created your will, you must sign it and have it witnessed by two adult witnesses. Your witnesses should not be beneficiaries of your will.

Storing Your Will

Once your will is signed and witnessed, you should store it in a safe place where it can be easily found after your death. You may want to give a copy of your will to your executor and your lawyer.

Updating Your Will

Regularly reviewing and updating your will is crucial, especially if your life circumstances change. For example, you may need to update your will if you marry, divorce, have children, or move to a new province.

Reasons to Update Your Will

Here are some reasons why you may need to update your will:

  • You have gotten married or divorced.
  • You have had children.
  • You have moved to a new province.
  • You have acquired new assets or sold existing assets.
  • You want to change the distribution of your assets.
  • You want to name a new executor or guardian.

Conclusion

Having a will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your loved ones and assets. A will can help you ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death, and it can also help you avoid probate and protect your assets. If you don't have a will, I encourage you to create one today.

Additional Tips for Creating a Will

  • Be specific when naming your beneficiaries and listing your assets.
  • Choose an executor who is responsible and trustworthy.
  • Review your will regularly and update it as needed.
  • Keep your will in a safe place where it can be easily found after your death.
  • Tell your loved ones you have a will and its location.

Following these tips can create a will to protect your loved ones and assets after your death.

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for subcribing
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Here are some more interesting articles:

Information is power!

Advanced Healthcare Directives: Expert Legal Guidance in Mississauga

Advanced Healthcare Directives: Expert Legal Guidance in Mississauga

Local SEO is vital for Ontario-based legal services to reach clients seeking advanced directives and estate planning. By utilizing Google My Business, incorporating local keywords into content, building online reviews, and acquiring local backlinks, legal practitioners can improve their online presence and connect with clients in their community.

Trust Dissolution in Canada: Your Legal Guide to Ending a Trust

Trust Dissolution in Canada: Your Legal Guide to Ending a Trust

A trust termination agreement is crucial when ending a trust, in Canada. It serves as a document of the choice to dissolve the trust and specifies how assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries. This agreement guarantees communication among everyone involved such as trustees, beneficiaries and other interested parties. It also reduces the chance of disagreements demonstrates adherence, to obligations and helps navigate tax consequences.

Understanding Executor vs. Trustee Roles: Navigating Estate Planning and Probate in Mississauga

Understanding Executor vs. Trustee Roles: Navigating Estate Planning and Probate in Mississauga

When you're selected as an executor or trustee, in Ontario it underscores the significance of having guidance to navigate the provinces laws. Executors are in charge of handling estates. Fulfilling the wishes of individuals while trustees are tasked with managing trusts based on conditions. These roles come with responsibilities that require a level of accountability. To effectively fulfill these duties and avoid complications it is essential for executors and trustees to seek advice, from lawyers to minimize issues and ensure that the wishes of the deceased or grantor are carried out smoothly.