This is the first in a series of articles on estate planning. Pop icon Prince recently made news headlines worldwide las t month when he suddenly passed away at the age of 57. If passing away at such a young age wasn’t unfortunate enough, news soon broke that the pop superstar didn’t have a will. With an estate worth $250 million U.S., this has the potential to get quite messy to say the least.
Prince’s untimely death highlights the importance of having a will. Whether you’re a multi-millionaire or you earn an honest living working a steady job, having a will is crucial. A will makes sense for anyone with a spouse, children, dependents or who own a major asset like a home or business.
Thousands of Canadians Die Without A Will Each Year
Prince isn’t the only one who died without a will. Each year thousands of Canadians die without a will. In fact, over half of Canadians don’t have a signed will, finds a LawPro survey. When you pass away without a will, it’s called dying intestate. When you die intestate, you leave the decision-making in the hands of the province where you live. The province determines how your assets are to be divided using a standard formula. The rules for dividing assets are different depending on where you live. You work your entire life to buy a home – do you really want the courts to decide who gets it?
If you have children, it’s even worse – the province determines who looks after them. What if both your spouse and you die in a car crash together? You may prefer that your best friend looks after your children, but without a will, the province may put your children in a foster home. Do you really want to leave important decisions like that in the hands of the courts?
While many people know the importance of a will, we just can’t seem to find the time to get one. It’s always on our to-do list. Just like to life insurance, a will is something you have to make time for. Your family will already be deeply saddened by your passing. Do you really want to add more stress to the situation by dying intestate? A will is money well spent. It can help your estate save money and time to obtain probate. When you pass away, do you want to leave a lasting legacy or be remembered for splitting up the family by not having a will?
DIY vs. Using a Lawyer
Now that you know the importance of a will, you have two choices. You can have a lawyer or paralegal draft it up or you can create a will using one of those do-it-yourself kits. While the do-it-yourself kits can help you save money, unless your will is pretty straightforward, it’s usually best left in the hands of a lawyer. A will is only helpful if it stands up in court. The last thing you want is for your will to be tossed out by the judge.
If you don’t have a will, rush to your lawyer’s office and draft one up. A will is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle. Need some help with estate planning? Feel free to contact our office for a helping hand.