Why A Will Is Important
BOOM recently interviewed Wills & Estates Lawyer, Jeff Kahane with Kahane Law, to teach us about the importance of Wills and what to include in them.
During uncertain times, many people are now taking the time to review important items such as insurance and personal documents, specifically Wills.
The following is our Q&A session with Jeff Kahane, which answers some of the most common questions asked:
Why is a Will Important?
To ensure your family is protected and that your last wishes are really being followed. If there are minors involved, it ensures someone follows your intentions for the minor (education, religion, community involvement, etc.). As well, it allows you to make personal bequests.
Should everyone have a Will?
About 10-15% of Canadians have a Will, which is a very low number. Anyone who is running their own business, has kids, is leaving a request to somebody, lives a riskier lifestyle or anyone who is really concerned about where their funds go should be putting a Will in place.
What if I were to pass without a Will?
Passing without a Will is called an intestacy. The government sets out exactly who gets what and it starts with the closest in line (spouse, kids, parents and siblings, cousins, etc.). Where there is no blood lineage and no one comes forward, the estate would go into a provincial fund and used to fund educational institutions. If a relative comes forward later, they can apply to receive the funds.
What’s included in a Will Package?
Besides your Will, there is the Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive.
What should people consider when selecting an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney deals with your finances. Choose someone you trust and like. Depending on the nature of your assets, select someone who is comfortable and knowledgeable about handling your type of assets.
What is a Personal Directive?
A Personal Directive deals with your person and situations like: medical treatment, money withdrawals, living arrangement (care facility) and types of social activities that work best for you.
Is it possible to draft your own Will?
Yes. The most important thing to remember is your signature needs to be on the document. Your Will can take any form from a hand written note to a full legal document!
What tips can you provide on preparation in advance of going to see a lawyer to have a Will drawn up?
After booking an appointment, it's important to read through all of the information and documents sent for your review before arriving to your appointment.
How often should you review and update your Will?
It depends on your personal situation. A desire to change your Executor, a significant change in asset base, marriage and divorce are all situations that would necessitate a review and update.
Where should you keep your Will?
The Executor, Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive should know where you keep your Will. A fire safe, safety deposit box or even placed in a Ziplock bag, tucked into the bottom of the freezer, are all good storage places. Pertinent family members should always be aware of where your Will is stored.
Take some time to ensure your documents are in order and up-to-date for your peace of mind and those of your loved ones!
To watch the full interview, click here.