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7 Important Reasons Why You Need A Will

Have you been putting off finishing your will? Has it been on your to-do list for months, even years? You are not alone: over 57% of Canadians do not have a will and millions have wills that need to be updated. If you're wondering why you need to get a will, keep reading.

1. Creating your will is the catalyst for having important conversations

A common excuse we’ve heard from those who have yet to create their will is “my family will know what to do if I die.” This assumption has caused family friction too often since death, grief and loss can make decision-making highly emotional.

Instead, the process of writing a will and putting your decisions down in writing takes the burden off your loved ones to guess (and challenge) what your wishes would be. This is the time to tell your chosen executor and guardians that you’ve chosen them, and make sure they are up to the task.

2. You decide who will be in charge of closing your estate

You may have family and friends who love and care for you but still would not be up to the task of closing your estate upon your passing. Your will is the opportunity to choose the right person as your executor. Someone in your life who you not only trust but who has the capacity—time, energy, organizational skills—to serve in this role.

The person you choose as your executor shouldn’t be written in stone either, as things can change over the course of your life. With only estate planning tools like Willful, you can easily update your choices anytime, free of charge.

3. An important relationship in your life could be ignored by the courts

When you die without a will (known as dying “intestate”) provincial legislation will dictate how your estate is distributed and may impact important relationships in your life that are not recognized by these laws. Common-law partners and other dependants you wish to provide for are vulnerable if you die without a will.

4. You have an emergency plan in place for your minor children and dependants

No one wants to think of a tragic event that could leave a child or children without their parents. This thought exercise will never (ever) be easy, but avoiding it altogether is also not an option. Your will tells your loved ones and the courts who you’ve entrusted to provide care and support for your child or children. While this decision should not be made lightly, it’s important to get this in writing and avoid the turbulence that could ensue because there was no plan in place. Here’s a guide we wrote on what to consider when choosing a guardian.

Like your executor, your decision for your guardian(s) can change over time. Review your estate plan regularly to make sure your

5. You also have a plan in place for your pets

Most pet owners would agree that we love the animals in our lives as much as the humans in our lives (and in some cases, maybe even more!). Put in writing who you’d like to care for your pet when you’re no longer able to and also set aside funds to help support your pet’s needs. Make sure you have this important conversation with whoever you choose so they are aware of what is being asked of them.

6. Maybe this goes without saying...but don’t you want to decide how your estate will be distributed?

Your will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine how you’d like to divide your estate and gives you a place to allocate special gifts of monetary or sentimental value such as books, art and jewelry. Help your loved ones navigate who gets what and minimize the chances of arguments that may arise when wishes aren’t made clear.

7. Last but not least, the gift of giving

You need a will if you wish to include a gift or donation to the charities you care about after you die (you also have the option to leave a percentage of your estate). Many organizations are supported by legacy giving and allow you to pay it forward to help those who need it most.

Bonus reason: You need a will because you deserve peace of mind.

There’s nothing worse than walking around with a nagging thought of “I know there’s something I should do, but I’ll just get to it later.” Procrastination is a dark playground where we can never fully enjoy the present moment knowing there’s unfinished business. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. 

Willful is an online platform that makes estate planning simple, convenient, and affordable. Make your will and power of attorney documents from the comfort of your home in less than 20 minutes!

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