The statistics still show that over 65% of adults in Canada do not have an up-to-date Last Will and Testament – even though most people know that they need a Will. Once in a while, somebody will tell us that they don’t need a Last Will and Testament – yet. Here are the top ten excuses for not having a Will, and we will explain why everybody should take the time to prepare their Will write now.
1. Everything is going to my spouse whether I have a Will or not
In reality, there is not a single Province in Canada in which you can guarantee that this will be the case. Without a Will, the distribution of your estate is determined by “intestate law”, which follows a rather complicated flow depending on your family situation. What makes it more complicated is that no two Provinces are the same. In most Provinces, if you are married with children, your spouse will not receive the entire estate.
2. I have a Last Will and Testament, I did it 20 years ago
Wills don’t usually last 20 years. Legally a Will is valid until it is destroyed or in most Canadian provinces a Will is cancelled if you get married. However, it is unlikely that the content of your Will wouldn’t need to be changed. You may have a new child, or if you already have children, they may become adults or have children of their own. You may have named an Executor who has become too old to perform the task. You may have worked with an organization that you now wish to include in your Will. There are a number of reasons beyond the accumulation of assets that may prompt you to update your Will. The advantage of using the Will writing services at LegalWills.ca of course is that you can update your Will any time you wish as often as you need to.
3. I’m not worth anything. I’ll write a Last Will and Testament when I’ve accumulated some assets.
You are not writing a Will to come into effect today, and the reality is that you have no idea what your estate will be worth after you have died. A well written Will would take into account the growth of your estate over time, so even if your Will came into effect in 25 years time, it would still likely work for you. More importantly, if you died as a result of an accident and somebody was found negligent; your estate could be worth significantly more than at any time in your life.
4. I’ve told everybody what I want to happen. I don’t need to write it in a Will
This is one of the most common causes of a family fight over assets. People feel that they are entitled, or have been promised certain possessions or assets, when in fact a verbal promise is meaningless in law. If a family member thinks that they have been promised some money, only to discover that legally they have no claim, it will almost certainly cause a family rift
5. It’s nothing to do with me. I’ll be dead anyway, I’ll let somebody else sort it out
You are probably not aware of the size of the mess that you will be leaving your loved ones if you do not have a Last Will and Testament. We have frequently seen situations where close families stop talking to each other after a dispute over an estate. Nobody will have been appointed to take care of the estate, and the family could start fighting over your possessions. Furthermore, your Will is actually a powerful tool that allows you to recognise people or organizations that have made a difference to your life. It is your last opportunity to do something charitable and make a difference. It would be a pity to let that opportunity pass you by and let the government decide how your estate will be split up.
6. I’m too young to write a Will
There are a number of inherent problems in waiting until you are about to die before you write your Will. Most obviously, you probably don’t know when that moment is going to happen. Most well written Wills are to some extent “future-proof” and they can certainly be updated throughout your life as circumstances change. There is no advantage whatsoever in waiting until you are older to write your Will, but some major issues that arise if you die without a Last Will and Testament.
7. I can’t afford it at the moment
This comes up a lot because people are quoted $600 to $1,000 to prepare a Will, and then quoted the same for each update. However, there is actually no legal requirement to use the services of a lawyer to prepare a Will. If you need legal advice, we would recommend that you find a lawyer, but the vast majority of people do not need legal advice when preparing their Will. For example, if you want your entire estate to go to your spouse, and then if something were to happen to the both of you, then everything to be shared between your children, it would be unnecessary to pay for expensive legal fees. An identical Will can be prepared using our service for $34.95.
8. It’s a pain to find a lawyer and set up an appointment. I never have the time
It is rare that a lawyer will make house-calls, even for their $800 fee. Services like the one at www.legalwills.ca are addressing this issue by allowing you to prepare your own Will, at a time that suits you, from the comfort of your own home. You can prepare your legal Will in your pajamas tonight before you go to bed if you wish.
9. I used a kit. I’m good.
The most significant concern with blank form kits that you buy from a stationery store is that they give the impression that you have taken care of everything. But it is actually much more difficult than you think to cover all scenarios with a kit, which is usually not much better than starting with a blank piece of paper. Our Wills typically include about 25 clauses and are 7-8 pages long. Some kits that we’ve seen are two pages and include about 5 clauses. You are likely to have missed residuary clauses, powers granted to the trustee, trusts for minors and countless other critical clauses.
10. I find the whole idea of writing a Will confusing. I don’t even understand the most basic terms that they use and I don’t have time to learn.
Writing a Will is actually far simpler than a task like filing your taxes. Our service at LegalWills.ca guides you through the process step by step and explains the terms as you answer each question. You will see definitions for key terms like Beneficiary, Executor, Trustee, Testator, Residual estate, and be provided with simple explanations for the signing process. You do not have to have any legal training to prepare your own Will, and hundreds of thousands of people have already created their Will through our service – If they can do it, so can you. If there is anything that you are unsure of, you can send us an email or call us and we are very happy to help.
There is never a good reason to not have a Last Will and Testament in place, but there are plenty of serious consequences to dying without a Will. The whole process takes about 20 minutes and costs $39.95. It’s a task that everybody puts off for another day, but using our service, you can complete your estate planning documents today.
Tim Hewson is one of the founders of LegalWills.ca.
He has over 20 years of experience helping people to write their Will and other estate planning documents. He has been interviewed by many of the major news media outlets including CTV, Global News, The Toronto Star, and other leading Canadian publications. He has also contributed to a number of financial planning books.
Throughout his career, Tim has written extensively on the subject of Will writing and estate planning.
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