Wills 101: Myths & Facts
Having a valid will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. A will is your way of making sure that things are handled exactly as you wish after you pass. It protects your spouse, children and assets. Unfortunately, there are many myths about wills floating around, and many Canadians still think they don’t need this important document. Read on as Heritage Law dispels three of the most common myths surrounding wills.
Myth 1: I’m young and not wealthy, so I don’t need a will.
Wills are not just for the old and rich. Every single person has an estate; therefore, every single person needs a will. The following is just a few of the many items that contribute to your estate:
- Personal property (furniture, art, jewelry, vehicles, etc.);
- retirement accounts ;
- bank accounts;
- life insurance policies;
- real estate;
- and much more.
You may not think you have much, but when you add together the value of your belongings, you might be surprised! Having a will ensures that whatever assets you do have will go to the people you want it to. Without a will, it’s up to the government to divy up your estate.
Myth 2: My family will look after my children if I die, so I don’t need to set out specific provisions for them.
If you don’t appoint a guardian for your children in the event of your death, a judge will have the power to decide who raises your children. There is no guarantee that any of your remaining family will be the ones granted custody. A will gives you the power to take control of your children’s future and make sure they are cared for by a person you trust.
Myth 3: Marriage always takes precedence over family in the event there is no will.
Spouses are not always the sole inheritor of property when their partner dies. Without a valid will, there are legal rules that outline who gets what. These rules are different for married and adult interdependent relationship couples.
If your spouse dies without leaving a will, both the married spouse and any children have the right to inherit property.
Adult Interdependent Relationship Couples
Previously known as common law couples. In this situation, the spouse does not inherit any of their partner’s property unless it was left to them in a will. Without a will, all property will go to any children or other relatives.
Tomorrow is never promised. While death is a difficult concept to consider, it’s incredibly important to have your wishes formalized so that the people you love are taken care of. If you need help preparing you will, contact the team at Heritage Law today.