In our business, clients give us a lot of reasons why NOT to make a Will. "I'm healthy as an ox." "I have lots of time to think about things like that." "I don't own enough stuff to worry about that." "Let's not tempt fate." These reasons - which are really excuses - lull people into thinking they can postpone the task of estate planning without serious consequences.
When we choose to make our Wills, we are not doing it for ourselves. We are thinking about those who will survive us. Making a Will is the ultimate act of kindness and consideration towards those who survive us - friends and relatives who will be suffering emotionally following our death. By having a Will, we make our personal wishes clear. We simplify the job for those who want to carry out our final wishes.
Whether you have a Will or not, your assets - abundant or scarce - will have to be dealt with following your death. When someone dies without a Will, the Court appoints an administrator to settle the Estate. That appointed administrator may have to purchase a bond which can be expensive. The costs of a court-appointed administrator far outweigh the costs of preparing and executing a Will.
When someone dies in Manitoba without a valid Will, their property is disposed of under The Intestate Succession Act. The Act sets out an inflexible formula for distributing the assets of the deceased. We won't bore you with the details of the Act's provisions, but we'll skip right to the conclusion. Without a Will, if the deceased has no heirs under The Intestate Succession Act, the estate goes to the Crown. That means all property goes to the government. We don't know anyone who likes paying taxes during their lifetime. Why would someone want to turn their property over to the government at their death?
A Will allows the testator (the person making the Will) to deal with certain important matters involving minor children-those under the age of 18. Properly drafted, your Will can make money available for your minor children's education and maintenance. It also gives you the opportunity to state your wishes clearly concerning guardianship of your children. There are many good reasons to have a Will, but it really comes down to communicating your wishes to the people you will leave behind. The effort and expense you make today to prepare your last Will and Testament will be a lasting gift to your loved ones.
The lawyers at Robertson Shypit Soble Wood, together with their staff, are well equipped to assist you in the task of making a Will. The process is simple. You give us instructions - by completing a questionnaire, by telephone interview or in person - and we prepare a draft document for your review. We send that draft Will to you by mail, fax or e-mail, and you ensure that it sets out your wishes. The document will have some legal wording. We are always available to answer your questions about the draft. When you are satisfied that the draft accurately reflects your intentions, we will arrange a signing appointment. The legal requirements for signing a Will are very specific. You must sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses. As part of our service, one of the witnesses will execute an Affidavit verifying the proper execution of the Will. Together, the Will and the Affidavit are kept in a safe place, either in our office or in some other location of your choosing, until required by the executor.
If you have no Will, or if you are considering changing your existing Will, we hope you will give us the opportunity to be of service as we have been in the past. To start the process of planning your Will, please contact our office at (204) 257-6061. We look forward to hearing from you.
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