As parents, we do our best to plan and prepare for our kids’ future. We’ll select the best schools, set aside savings for college, or even purchase life insurance. But what if you were to pass away unexpectedly? Having a Will in place allows you to decide the important things like who will have guardianship over your children, how your estate will be divided, and so much more. If you are a parent or soon-to-be parent, here are a few reasons why you should have a Will…
You may appoint a guardian of your choosing – When you write a Will, you can name one or more trusted guardians for your children should anything happen to you. If you were to die unexpectedly, the other parent will most likely be responsible for the child’s care. However, it’s wise to name an alternate guardian should both parents pass away. The guardian(s) you select will not only be responsible for raising your children, they will also make important decisions about where your child goes to school or which traditions or religious beliefs your they will be raised with.
You get to control how your estate is divided – If you die without a Will, the Wills and Succession Act will determine how your estate is distributed. This legal process may have unintended consequences, takes time, and your loved ones may not have access to your estate for months or even longer following your passing. A Will ensures that your estate is divided how you want. Learn more about estate planning here.
You’ll have more options for the care of minors or dependants – Let’s say you want to leave an inheritance for your child to support them as a minor while also ensuring they don’t receive too much money too soon. As part of preparing your Will, you can set up a Trust for beneficiaries that are minors or dependants who might not be capable of handling a large sum of money responsibly. You will appoint a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary and carry out your directions for managing the distribution of your assets. Trusts are an excellent way to disburse your assets according to your wishes rather than leaving it up to the courts.
You get to appoint a personal representative – A personal representative (also known as an executor, executrix, trustee, or administrator) is typically named in a Will. This person is responsible for managing and distributing the deceased’s property and assets in accordance with the Will, as well as carrying out any last wishes. Many of these tasks are related to financial matters, taxes, and various related paperwork, so you will want to select someone you can trust to handle these responsibilities. This person can be a trusted friend, family member, or lawyer. Whether you choose a lawyer to be your representative or not, an experienced probate or Wills and Estates lawyer will help ensure that the process is done correctly.
You’ll save your loved ones time and money – Without a Will, your children or beneficiaries may have to go through a lengthy legal process with the estate. Sorting out an estate for a parent who has passed can be a headache and costly, and it can take a lot longer for your loved ones to access the funds of the estate. In Alberta, the Wills and Succession Act will determine how your estate is distributed.
Without a Will in place, it is ultimately up to the courts to make a lot of important decisions that directly impact your family. Even if you don’t have kids, having a Will is important, especially if you own a home or have other significant assets. Put a reminder in your phone, write it in your calendar, or better yet, get started today. Have questions? Contact us and our team will be ready to answer your questions.