The Importance of Having a Will
A Will is a legal document that essentially allows you to speak after your passing. It allows you to make decisions now, to be followed after you pass away.
A Will allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed: Will your money be divided equally among your children? Will you give some to charity? Do you want your grandchildren to receive a share? Do you have a favorite painting you want a friend to have? You get to decide exactly how your estate will be divided.
If you have minor children, your Will allows you to appoint people to be Guardians of those children. It also allows you to decide who will be your Personal Representative, also known as an Executor or Executrix, whose job it is to make sure the terms of your Will are followed.
Is it really necessary to have a Will?
No, it is not. HOWEVER, there can be unwanted consequences of passing away without a Will. In Alberta, if you pass away without a Will, your estate will be deemed “Intestate”, and the distribution of your estate will be governed by the Intestacy provisions found in the Wills and Succession Act (Alberta). These provisions set out exactly where your assets will go without regard for what you may have wanted. Further, without a Will, a Court may appoint someone you would not want to be the guardian of your minor children. The Estate Administration Act (Alberta) also sets out a list, stipulating who has priority to apply to administer your estate.
Not having a say in who gets how much of your estate, who is appointed as the guardian of your children, and who gets to administer your estate, are all things that can be avoided by having a Will.
Ultimately, without a Will, you will not have a say in how your assets are distributed or how your loved ones will be taken care of.
These are just a few examples of why it is important to have a Will and what the consequences could be if you do not have one. It is best to meet with a lawyer to ensure your wishes are properly set out and will be followed upon your passing.
If you have any questions about your Will, please contact our team at Hamilton Baldwin Law at 403-845-7301 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org