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ESTATE PLANNING ARTICLES

Last Will and Testament For Everybody

Author: Ivon T Hughes

Statistics suggest that the majority of adult Canadians have not yet made a Last Will and Testament. Thoughts of death are not pleasant for anyone but proper Estate Planning allows you to retain control over your Estate and ensure that your friends and family are not burdened by unnecessary expense and stress.

Why a Last Will and Testament is the single most important document in Estate Planning

If you die without a Last Will and Testament, you are referred to as having died “intestate”.  When someone dies “intestate” an application must be made to court for the appointment of an estate trustee who can then distribute the Estate according to the government’s “rules of intestacy”. These rules were established to provide a standardized distribution of estate assets.  These rules do not distribute property in a manner that reflects your particular circumstances or concerns, and the “rules” certainly do not make any attempt to minimize legal costs or taxes payable by your estate.  Settling an intestate estate is more time consuming and expensive than settling an estate where a valid Last Will and Testament exists.

For example, most government rules provide that the surviving spouse of a deceased has the right to at least receive a certain amount from the deceased’s assets.  Any amounts in excess of that are normally divided between the spouse and children.  If there is no spouse then your property is divided between your nearest blood relatives in most cases.

If you do not have a Last Will and Testament this is how your assets may be distributed 

If you have minor children, provision may be made for their share to be held in trust until they reach the age of majority.  In such cases, their share would have to be paid into court and administered by the court, but will you feel secure having it done this way?

What about common law and same sex couples if there is not a Last Will and Testament?

If your partner does not fall within the legal definition of “spouse” then some government rules would direct your assets to your “next of kin” blood relatives.

See your lawyer now as these are just a few of  the reasons why everyone needs a Last Will and Testament.

   

 

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