What is a Will?

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What is a Will?

A will is written document outlining the testator's (will writer) dying wishes. It often includes:

  • Who to act as the administrator of their estate after they die (the estate trustee)
  • Who they would like receive their estate after they die (their beneficiary) 
  • How debts are to be paid and any explanation as to why a loved one may be excluded from their will or a reason the estate is not divided equally, if needed

Why is it important to have a Will?

Wills provide a person the opportunity to dictate who should be in receipt of their money/property (estate) after they die and who should administer their estate. 

It is worth noting while you can leave instructions as to how you wish to buried/cremated, the estate trustee has discretion and no legal obligation to follow these wishes. It is important to pick an estate trustee you trust.

Without a will, a deceased’s estate will be administered (given out) based on the Rules of Intestacy (which is a hierarchal chart of who automatically receives money/property from the estate).

While the Rules of Intestacy provide a route for administering (giving out the estate) for those who die without a will, it might not always be reflective of your personal life circumstances. For example, based off the rules of intestacy, a common-law spouse will not automatically receive anything from their deceased’s partners estate.

It is important to have a will for tax planning purposes as there may be legal ways your assets may be held which allow you to avoid paying additional taxes. A will is a good tool for estate planning.

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