While people often put off creating a Will, it is one of your most important personal planning documents. Creating a Will while you are healthy and of sound mind, ensures that your loved ones are provided for when you die, giving you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out and all your affairs will be taken care of.

A Will is not just about giving gifts, or leaving a legacy to your beneficiaries, it also provides guidelines on how to deal with what you have left behind. Without a Will, settling a person’s estate can become a contentious affair that splits families apart.

When Writing a Will, You Should:

  1. Designate an Executor. This person will be responsible for handling your affairs and carrying out the terms of your Will.
  2. Appoint a Guardian(s) to take custody of your minor children
  3. Designate how and to whom assets should be dispersed

Even if you do not have any major assets you may still need a Will as your Estate also includes personal belongings, furniture, keepsakes, family heirlooms, clothes, chequing accounts or cash on hand, etc. In the event you die without a Will, the government through the Public Guardian and Trustee will need to step in to manage your affairs.

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Term Definitions

Will (or Testament): A legal document specifying how a person's affairs will be handled after their death, including custody of minor children and distribution of assets.

Beneficiary: Individual(s) named in the Will to receive distribution of assets or other named items from a person's estate.

Legacy: A piece of property designated in a Will to be left to a beneficiary.

Executor: The person named in the Will to be responsible for implementing the deceased's last wishes. The Executor for the Estate and Guardian for the children can be the same person or you can designate more than one person.