A Will is a legal document that solidifies your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate upon your death. Ensuring that you have a comprehensive Will in place is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
The team at Onyx Law Group understands that creating a Will can seem like a daunting task. We take the time to understand your wishes and your family needs, and aim to simplify the process as much as possible. We will help you put a proper Estate Plan in place, which will save your loved one’s time and money in the future.
A Will is an incredibly important legal document that everyone needs to protect their family and their financial legacy, yet 45% of adults in British Columbia don’t have a Will. If you don’t have a Will in place, you lose control over how your family is taken care of after you pass away. Without a Will, your estate will be divided according to law and the administration will be carried out by a court-appointed administrator.
You don’t need to be very wealthy or have complicated circumstances to need a Will. The following are some of the reasons why you should have a Will:
● So your children are protected
A Will allows you to leave instructions about who will be responsible for your minor children. If you die without a valid Will, the Court will choose a guardian for your children. Having a Will in place will ensure that your children will be looked after by someone you love and trust. In your Will you can also ensure that your estate provides financial security for your children.
● To minimize costs
After you pass away, there are many costs associated with administering your estate. An experienced estate lawyer can help to plan your estate and write your Will in a way that simplifies the administration process and minimizes cost as much as possible. An effective estate plan may take into account your funeral wishes or instructions, designating beneficiaries of insurance policies, RRSPs, and TFSAs, and advising you of strategies to reduce the risk of litigation and estate administration fees and taxes.
● To avoid delays in settling your Estate
A valid Will is the first step to ensuring your estate is settled according to the law. Not only will this minimize legal fees, but it can help avoid a lengthy probate process or potential litigation that prolongs the settling of your estate and causes more pain for your loved ones.
● So you can choose your executor
When you write your Will, you name an executor to handle the administration of your estate. You’re able to pick someone who is both organized and trustworthy that you know will follow your wishes. Here are some of the responsibilities of an executor.
● Provide peace of mind
Above all else, leaving a valid Will enables you and your family to rest easy knowing that your affairs are in order should anything happen to you.
For a Will to be valid in British Columbia, it must meeting the following basic requirements as required by the Wills, Estates and Succession Act:
● be in writing
● signed at the end by the will-maker
● signed in the presence of 2 witnesses
If a Will doesn’t meet these requirements, it may not be enforceable, which can result in costly litigation and your estate being distributed in a way you did not intend. A lawyer can help ensure that your Will is legally valid, which will minimize the likelihood that your Will will lead to an estate litigation matter.
Our team of experienced Estate Planning lawyers regularly work with clients who are creating a Will for the first time. Our lawyers are here to answer all your questions.
While you can write your own Will, doing so may lead to various issues that will increase the costs associated with administering your estate. These issues can include:
● Missing important elements
When individuals attempt to draft their own Wills, they often fail to include important elements or observe important requirements, which will result in extra costs and stress for their family. A lawyer ensures that all the important elements in your Will are included, which will help minimize cost and mitigate unnecessary disputes during the administration.
● Not taking other legal agreements into account
Individuals do not always take existing legal agreements into account when writing their Will. These agreements may include family law agreements (such as cohabitation agreements or prenuptial agreements), agreements concerning real property (such as co-ownership agreements, deeds or mortgages), or insurance policies. An individual who prepares a Will that fails to take these other agreements into account will leave complicated and unexplained issues for their executor to deal with after death. An experienced lawyer knows how to prepare a comprehensive Estate Plan and craft a Will that properly takes into account all existing agreements and other factors.
● An Estate Plan that doesn’t meet your needs
Estate planning isn’t ‘one size fits all’. When individuals write their own Will, they often use overly simplistic forms and clauses that do not fit their circumstances. These generic Wills can leave your loved ones in a difficult situation by having to carry-out ambiguous wishes or deal with issues that weren’t properly addressed in the Will. A lawyer ensures that your instructions and wishes are clearly communicated so that there is no misunderstanding or cause for worry.
The lawyers at Onyx Law Group have extensive experience preparing Wills for individuals with both simple and complex estates, and we know how to draft a Will that will protect your loved ones in the event of your passing. A lawyer can help you navigate many issues that come up when planning an estate, such as issues related to the ownership of assets, setting up testamentary trusts for beneficiaries, and planning for estate taxes and fees.
It’s important that you consult with a lawyer when preparing any legal document. The estate planning team at Onyx Law Group can ensure that your estate is in order, which will put your and your family’s minds collectively at ease. We have the knowledge and experience required to craft a Will that accurately reflects your long term wishes for your family’s legacy. Contact us today to discuss the preparation of your Will.
Onyx Law Group represents clients in family law, estate and trust litigation, estate planning and probate matters. Consult with our experienced team at