21 Questions: What Goes in a Will

We’re coming to the end of the ’21 Questions’ blog series! I hope these articles have proven informative. My next post, all about intellectual property, will likely end this run. For now, let’s get into the nitty and the gritty of preparing a will.

Once you’ve decided it’s the right time for a will (see my blog on that subject here) it’s time to go through a bunch of questions. The first thing to determine is who is going to be in charge of managing your estate. The estate is the collection of all your assets and liabilities after you pass away. So basically, the person in charge of your estate, your executor, has a pretty important job!

Once you’ve chosen an executor, the next thing to look at might be charitable gifts. If you want to leave a donation or gift from your estate, this can be written into your will. With that settled, the next step is to look at your personal property. Houses, cars, pet llamas, whatever it may be! If you have specific instructions for who receives what, you’ll want those instructions written in the will.

Any assets and property that aren’t specifically listed are going to form part of your estate’s residue. Your will should include instructions for how the residue is to be distributed and allocated. With the asset distribution out of the way, it’s time to give some thought to the things that matter most.

If you have children, your will should include arrangements for their care and guardianship. The guardian has an important role, as they will care and make decisions for your children. As such, you may want to consider setting up compensation from the estate for the guardian. Your will can also set up a trust for your children. A trust is a financial arrangement that ensures funds are distributed to your children in a responsible and timely manner. As with the guardianship, you may want to compensate the trustee from the estate as well.

A will can go into much more detail, but these are the major elements I feel are important to highlight for now. When preparing your will, it’s important to have a good record of all your assets and liabilities. That way, you can be sure that everything is covered. After drafting your will, you may also want to consider having Power of Attorney documents prepared. These documents will establish who is in charge of your healthcare and property in case you are incapacitated.

Ready to get your will drafted? Send us an email to contact@smlegal.ca or call us at 416-645-9433.

-Samuel Michaels

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