Writing your will can be an overwhelming process. Here is a list of items that can offer some assistance when preparing your will.
- You must name an executor (also called a trustee). This is the person who carries out the instructions in the will. It is a good idea to name an alternative, particularly if you have a spouse in order to carry out the will terms on the death of the last to die. Avoid naming someone who is likely to die before you.
- If you have specific items you wish to give out you can set them out in the will. However you may make your own list to keep with the will and the will can make reference to the fact that you have made a list of gifts to be followed. This way you can change the list from time to time if you change your mind about things. Cash bequests should always be set out in the will itself.
- After the specific items, if any, you should set out who is to get the “residue” of the estate (whatever is left). This may be a spouse or some other person. If you are leaving it to a spouse you should consider an alternative in the event that your spouse predeceases you or should you both die in a common accident. In this case it may be that you leave it equally among children, if any. You may also wish to consider what you would do if a child predeceased you (leave that child’s share to their children? Have the share revert to your surviving children rather than grandchildren?).
- If you are including potential minor beneficiaries (under 19) their shares must be held in trust until at least 19, but you may select a higher age with specific restrictions.
- There may be a need for other types of trusts depending on your circumstances or the circumstances of your beneficiaries which we will discuss with you in our initial meeting.
- While it is not necessary to bring a list of your assets it is important that we understand what your assets are and how you hold them and who you have designated as beneficiaries for insurance policies, RRSPs (etc.) and pensions and how you hold your bank accounts.