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There are many reasons why we put off making a will. The process can be daunting. There is uncertainty about where to begin. Some think their estate is too small to bother. However, if we really understood the consequences of not having a will, especially for those we care about, we would be taking action—immediately.

Here are just some of the reasons why having a will is so important:

  • When you don’t have a will, the chances of having to apply to court for probate are much higher. When you have a will, combined with some good estate planning, you can often avoid this costly and time consuming process.
  • Without a will, the laws of the province in which you reside will determine how your assets are distributed on your passing. Your preferences may not be followed and could result in real hardship for your loved ones.
  • If you are parents of minor children, you lose your only opportunity to name a legal guardian of your choice—someone who could best meet the emotional and material needs of your children.
  • Finally, if minors are beneficiaries, they will inherit from your estate at the age of 18 with no strings attached. Some can handle such responsibility at this young age, while others cannot.

Having an up-to-date will is important. Think about the legacy that you would like to leave, and then seek professional advice and counsel. You—and your heirs— will be glad you did.

Without a Will is based on an article written by Peter Lillico, an estate planning lawyer with the Peterborough, Ontario firm of Lillico Bazuk Galloway Halka.