A person’s will is a legal document that they leave behind after their death to let the court and family members know what to do with the estates.
Leaving a wheel is very important as it helps to plan for your spouse and children’s future.
If a person has died without a will, their property will be distributed as per relevant territorial and provincial succession and estate laws guiding the distribution of property to surviving family members.
Why do you need a will?
It is important to leave a last will as it allows you to:
- determine who will take over ownership of your property upon your death
- It’s a way of lowering property tax
- Nominate a trusted person or organization responsible for managing your estate
- Name your minor children’s Guardian.
- Avoid a lengthy and costly probate process.
- Disinherit undeserving people
- Make donations and gifts.
- Avoid legal challenges
Perhaps you think that you are still left with many decades to prepare your last will. Even if it is so, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it today.
The days when preparing a will was inconvenient and expensive are gone. Back in the days, most people thought the last will is a once-in-a-lifetime activity. People thought that the only right time is when you’re about to kick the bucket.
Fortunately, the time has changed. A will is part of smart financial planning. You can write a will today and update it next week and throughout your life as your circumstances in the family change. Get in touch with us in case you need expert help with drafting your last will.
Persons or entities to whom you can leave your estate can include:
- children (both biological and adopted) spouse
- sisters and brothers
- mother and father
- charitable organizations
Powers of attorney
Related to a will is a power of attorney. While your will is about what you wish to happen after your death, your powers of attorney help implement your wishes when you’re still alive.
A power of attorney is a document showing that you have appointed a named person to act and make decisions on your behalf while you are still alive. In most cases, a person appoints another to help them make decisions because they are mentally incapable. They’re two main types of powers of attorney. Powers of attorney for:
- Personal care
- Property (continuing power of attorney for a property)
Powers of attorney for personal care
This is an arrangement where you nominate someone to make decisions on your behalf relating to matters such as:
- medical treatment
A continuing power of attorney for property
This type of power of attorney allows you to appoint a person to help you make financial decisions when you are incapable of doing so. The individual nominated cannot be a minor (less than 18 years) and must be mentally capable. The appointed person can make any decision concerning your estate.
However, the person can’t make a will on your behalf or appoint another power of attorney for you. A continuing power of attorney gives the holder powers to make decisions on your behalf, including:
- Signing checks
- selling property
- buying property
- taking out a loan
Will executors and administrators
You need to name an administrator or executor of your estate in your will. The people with the responsibility of carrying out your instructions as stated in the will. The will administrator or executor can be a single individual or several persons, whose responsibilities include:
- Completing valuations and inventory of all your financial obligations and properties
- Collecting addresses, names, and other personal information relating to the next of kin and beneficiaries of your hair estate
- Wrapping up personal issues after your death, for example canceling charge cards, subscriptions and redirecting mails
- Clearing any debts left on the property. An administrator or executor of your property will be held personally liable for your debts if they fail to clear them before the sharing of your estate.
- Controlling your properties, for example, collection of any pending debts and transfer of ownership registration
- Filing tax returns on your behalf and for the estate
- Disposing off your properties if necessary and distributing the proceeds to your named beneficiaries
- To prepare and obtain approval from the court, heirs-at-Law, or beneficiaries for accounts indicating properties, receipts, distribution, and disbursements of the estate.
What your attorney will want to know to help you prepare a last will
- Your full name, telephone number, occupation, address, place, date of birth, divorces, citizenship, and marital status.
- Dates of cohabitation, separations, or marriages, if any.
- If you intend to leave your properties to someone with a disability, your lawyer needs to know. Such matters require special handling.
Your lawyer will know how to maneuver through such matters not to affect any government disability benefits that the person may be enjoying.
- Personal details of your intended beneficiaries
You are free to change your will at any time. However, generally, most people change their will at events that include:
- Incapacity or death of guardians, executors, or administrators
- The need to change beneficiaries, executors, guardians, or administrators
- Change of circumstances, for example, increase or decrease in the number of beneficiaries (commonly children or spouses)
- Divorces hence, revoking the existing will and necessitating they need to make necessary changes after re-marriage
- Name changes, for example, changing your legal name, or when anyone named in the will decides to change their name.
- Sale of Properties, especially those named in the existing will
Generally, it is best to review your will at least once in 5 years with a lawyer. You can make any alteration to your will at any time; once you execute, its previous version stands revoked.