Nearly 50 per cent of Canadian adults pass away without having a valid will in place. If you die without a will (aka dying intestate), you do not have a say in how your estate is disposed. Instead, the provincial government divides your assets.
You may not think this is a bad thing if you are, for example, a young 28 year old that is renting an apartment with a common law spouse. You have no assets, so you don’t need a will, right? Think again! If you work at a job that has a pension, RRSP contributions or profit sharing, those investments form part of your estate. The definition of “spouse” differs across Canada too, so you cannot assume, without a will in place, that your common law partner will automatically receive a share of your estate.
If you are separated (but not yet divorced) and have a common law partner, without clear guidelines in your will, a bitter fight could ensue over which spouse inherits your assets.
Without a will, if you are set to inherit a home, money or a valuable heirloom that you would like your family to have if you predecease them, your family could be bypassed and the assets auctioned off or taken to pay your debts, capital gains tax or your final tax return (yes, there is a tax return due in the year you die).
These are just a few of the many issues that arise when an adult dies intestate, but your loved ones do not have to go through this turmoil. A will solves all these problems, and more!
A will is a flexible document that grows and changes with you over time. Put one in place today and as your life changes, codicils can be added to update your wishes – you don’t need a new will with each life event.
Choose to protect your loved ones and ensure they get the full value of your estate. The short time and investment you spend on a will can save years of heartache and financial upheaval for the ones you love and cherish.
You have the power to protect your estate after you pass away and we are here to help. Contact Estate Connection to learn more about wills, estate planning, guardianships and trusts, and visit our blog for expert advice on these important matters.
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