Creating a will is hard. It requires us to look at our own mortality, and forces us to address a big question: what is our legacy after we’re gone?
This requires some tough thinking. Difficult or not, it’s essential to make a will, especially if you are a parent, or have people who depend on you. Even if you don’t have direct dependents, but have close family (parents, siblings, or a partner), it’s important to think through the will creation process, and ensure you and others are protected. For instance if you pass on, and do not have a partner or identifiable beneficiaries, the government determines how best to deal with your assets. With this path there is often a great deal of uncertainty, and legal costs can spiral ; particularly if there are disputes and the courts need to get involved.
We have explained why you need a will, but the next step is to actually create one. So let’s get started!
HOW TO CREATE A WILL
- Commit to getting it done and get started – this is the simplest but hardest step!
- Decide how you want to produce your will. You can use a legal professional (e.g., a lawyer; or in BC – a notary public) or use online solutions
Note: We do suggest that you work with a legal professional. It may cost more than the online solutions, but you will have peace of mind in knowing you have worked with a professional in creating this important document.
- One of the most critical things you can do is name an executor and an alternate executor for your estate. This individual will carry out your instructions and wishes regarding your estate, as indicated in your will. This is a very serious role, and for more information on the importance of selecting the best individual, please read this article
- Identify your beneficiary(ies) – these are the people who will inherit your estate, as Indicated within your will
Note: It is important that you indicate precisely what the beneficiaries are to inherit. If there is more than one beneficiary on a specific item of inheritance, clearly indicate the percentage split between each beneficiary.
- If you have young children or minors within your care, name a legal guardian and alternate guardian, in your will, before they become adults. This will ensure they are taken care of, should the inevitable happen, until they reach the age of majority
- Think about other wishes you may have, such as who should take care of your pets that survive you, or any particular instructions you may have about your funeral ceremonies. State these clearly in your will, so there is no ambiguity in the minds of your loved ones
- Sign your last will and testament
- A will must be executed correctly with the right execution clauses and witnessed by eligible witnesses. Working with a legal professional will ensure these steps are followed precisely
- Store the physical document in a secure location and save a digital version of the will as well. This is where ReadyWhen can play a helpful role in both storage and accessibility
MAKING AN AMENDMENT TO YOUR WILL
You can make a change to your will at any time, and as your wishes dictate. We strongly recommend making a point of updating it whenever you go through a major life change, such as:
- The birth or adoption of a child
- Marriage or a divorce
- Buying or selling a home
- The death of one of your beneficiaries or executors
- Major changes in your financial situation
HOW CAN READYWHEN HELP
The ReadyWhen platform will digitally store and securely protect such critical information (i.e. wills, power of attorney documents, asset titles, etc.) once you have these prepared; as well as with quite a few other important things:
- Secure storage for life: You can save your Will in your ReadyWhen account free for life. If you have Will’s in multiple Canadian provinces, or even in different countries, ReadyWhen has the ability to store all of them
- Accessibility: Using our Teams functionality, you can name your beneficiaries and the executor of your Will within the ReadyWhen platform. By adding people to your Team, they will have access to the various pieces of information in your account; always based on the permissions you set. This way they are made aware of, and can easily access, critical information when the time comes. You can also easily add your (legal and financial) professional team members to your account, so they have access and can upload any documents securely on your behalf, as required
- Legal changes: Over the last few years, advancements in internet technologies have driven many industries to evolve and digitally transform their paper based, manual operations. This certainly holds true for the Estate planning industry. Recent societal changes at a global scale, fueled by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, are driving the laws to change, in order to meet this new reality. As the laws change across Canada, ReadyWhen not only provides the latest updates to you, but also ensures the ReadyWhen Platform is evolving to meet the new reality of what these changes represent. With ReadyWhen, you and your Team will always always be prepared
The content on the ReadyWhen Platform is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind.