One of the best decisions you can make when it comes to financial planning is writing a will. But it’s astonishing how many Canadians don’t have one — more than half of us according to some estimates.
Writing a will seems to be one of those things that many of us put off for another day. Maybe it doesn’t seem urgent, or perhaps the whole process seems daunting and can stir up uncomfortable emotions. But dying without a will could mean that your property won’t be distributed in accordance with your wishes. So put that procrastination aside and write that will with these five easy tips.
- Choose your executor carefully. The executor is the person you have chosen to carry out the directions of your will. It must be an adult and it should be someone you trust. It’s a good idea to name someone relatively young as executor so that they’ll likely outlive you and be able to carry out your wishes.
- Take care of your loved ones first. Most of us plan to leave something to those closest to us. But if you don’t name your loved ones in your will and state how much you want them to receive, your estate might not automatically go to the right people.
- Name guardians for your children. If you have children who are not of legal adult age, your will should name the person who will be your children’s guardian if you die.
- Name the special causes you want to support. Think about favourite causes you want to leave a gift to. It could be a health charity, a local animal shelter or a human rights charity like Amnesty International.
- Seek expert help. You might be tempted to write a will on your own, but that decision could end up costing your loved ones more. Seeking expert advice is strongly recommended — speak to a lawyer specializing in estates. Getting their guidance might not be as expensive as you imagined and will likely pay off in the long run.
Writing a will is a fairly straightforward process and your loved ones may be thankful that you took the time. A general information package is available free from Amnesty International at 312 Laurier Avenue East, Suite 250, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1H9.