When you think of what will happen to your assets and belongings after you die, you may have in mind a particular person who is very fond of a special heirloom, or grandchildren you want to reward for completing their education. Perhaps you expect to leave a little something to your church or earmark funds for a pet rescue organization.
As generous and charitable as these thoughts may be, they are little more than wishes unless you take the time to express them in your will.
A will formalizes your wishes for after you die. If you plan your will carefully, complying with Ontario laws, you may minimize the chances that your loved ones will bicker and fight over your estate, perhaps even taking matters to court. Some specific items you can address in your will include the following:
- The name of the executor of your estate, who will oversee probate and the distribution of your assets
- Whether your beneficiaries will receive specific bequests, like an exact sum of money, or residual shares, such as whatever remains after debts, taxes and other bequests are paid
- The person you name to be the guardian of your children who are still minors when you die
- Instructions for your burial, cremation or other final wishes
While it may seem easy for you to make these and other decisions on your own, there may be other matters to consider, such as how your life insurance policies, investments and retirement funds play into your bequests. Such matters may be better handled with the assistance of a skilled legal professional in Ontario. They can also help you make any necessary updates to your will as your life circumstances change.