Wondering why you need a will? Many people who don't own much property question whether or not they need a will. The truth is, if you are over 18, and especially if you have minor children, you absolutely need a will and should not wait a day longer to get one drawn up. This is true even if you and your spouse/partner jointly own all assets. So yes, you need a will even if you are married.
Why You Need a Will
If you do not have a will, you have no control over what happens to your estate should you die. This means your estate could be administered by someone you don't trust. If you have minor children, your children may be raised by someone you don't agree with. Without a will, your estate will also be distributed according to a government formula, not your wishes.
Should you die without a will, your estate cannot be administrated until the court appoints an administrator, which is time-consuming and costly. In addition, relatives who want guardianship of your minor children will have to apply, which also costs money and takes time.
Do I Need a Will if I Have No Assets?
Very few people have nothing of value to pass on. You may not own much, but if you think about it, you probably have some assets. Having a will ensures those assets will go to the people of your choosing.
If you die without a will, you won't have any say on who gets what. This may not bother you, but remember that disputes can erupt among family members during emotionally trying times. Without a will, your family members may fight over who will apply to be your administrator, which could strain relationships.
If you have no family members, your assets may go to the Province of Alberta. If you would prefer your assets to go elsewhere, such as to a friend or charity, you need to make a will. A will is also important if you have pets so you can ensure your pet is taken care of.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Write a Will?
Having a lawyer draw up your will is very beneficial. An experienced wills and estates lawyer knows what information you need to write a will that can stand up to scrutiny should anyone contest it.
Having a lawyer write your will also helps you ensure that you don't make any mistakes that will result in the will is deemed invalid, either in whole or in part. For example, your lawyer won't allow beneficiaries or their spouses named in the will to act as witnesses because witnesses cannot benefit from a will.
Another common error people make when writing their own wills is that they don't account for all of the estate. An experienced lawyer will ensure you've thought of everything and that it's all included in your will.
The Bottom Line
You need a will. Having a will ensures that you remain in control, giving you peace of mind, and can make the lives of your loved ones easier. Talk to us about how we can help you prepare your will or simply fill out our online Wills Package. Once we receive your information, we'll provide a firm quote for preparing your will, personal directive, and enduring power of attorney.