Do You Have a Will?


If the answer is yes, than you already know the importance of having a Will. If the answer is no, please read on to find out why it is so important!

A Will is likely the last message you will leave to your family. It can provide clear direction as to what your wishes are after you die.

The most important reason to have a Will – to help your family through a difficult time!

Without a Will, you could be leaving behind unpaid bills, taxes and courtroom battles for those who survive you.

What If You Don’t Have One?

Death “freezes” your assets. Without a Will (dying intestate), no one is in charge of your estate, which includes what you own as well as your debts. A judge would then be required to appoint an executor, which is someone who will manage your estate. This can take months. A judge can also decide how to distribute your assets, according to a standard formula set by provincial laws.

The Impact Related to Insurance

We have seen this situation occur with some of our insurance clients. In the event they die without a Will, we are unable to take direction from a spouse or family member (unless they were also a Named Insured on the policy). In order to make changes to our clients insurance policies, the spouse or family member first has to obtain executor status and provide confirmation of this. As mentioned above, this could take months. In the meantime, issues may arise with our client’s insurance policies that the spouse or family member are legally unable to take care of.

Here are six other important reasons to have a Will:

  1. Determines how your property is to be distributed.
  2. Allows you to name an Executor for your estate.
  3. Protects your common-law spouse.
  4. Allows you to name a guardian for your under-age children.
  5. You can leave instructions for your funeral, burial or cremation.
  6. Proper estate planning can result in income tax savings.

For a more detailed description of the above points, please read the article “Six Important Reasons to have a Will” from our friends at Harvest Financial & Insurance.

Creating a Will

There are certain legal requirements that must be met. The majority of Wills are typed documents that are signed by the Will maker and two witnesses. The witnesses should be independent and not listed as beneficiaries in the document. Some jurisdictions allow for handwritten documents, also known as Holographic Wills, however these are more likely to be contested or create difficulty upon death.

A lawyer is not required to make a Will and there are many do-it-yourself kits available on the market. However, for more complicated estates or if you are looking for peace of mind knowing your Will is done correctly, it is always recommended to find a good estate lawyer who can help!

Thank you,

The Costen Insurance Team