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Home  ->  Financial Planning   ->   Wills and Estates -> Why have a will?

Why Should You Have a Will?

bulletYou will be the one to choose the guardian of your children.
bulletyou will choose how your assets are distributed.  However, your will can be challenged in certain circumstances.  See Who can challenge a will.
bulletYou will choose your executor.
bulletYour estate will be settled more easily, quickly and cheaply than if you die intestate (without a will).

In some provinces, a will is automatically revoked upon the marriage of the testator (will writer).

For information regarding what happens in each province, see What to do when someone dies, which has links to wills and estate information on provincial/territorial websites.

Multiple Wills

Multiple wills, which are legal in some provinces, can help to reduce probate fees.  A second will can be used for shares held in private companies, or possibly other assets.

A Will For Canadian Property and Foreign Property

Do you have property in a foreign country?  If so, you should read the article A Will For Canadian Property And Foreign Property by Vanessa Dedomicis, Partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP.

Make Sure Your Will Complies With Current Legislation

It is advisable to have your will reviewed occasionally by a notary or lawyer, in particular if the legislation in your province regarding has been revised in recent years.  A review can help to ensure that your wishes will still be upheld under the latest legislation.

Keeping Your Will Up To Date

As your situation changes, it's important to make sure your will still reflects your current intentions. Some of the reasons why you may want to rewrite your will:

bulletyou have married or started living common-law,
bulletyou have become separated or divorced,
bulletyou have moved, in particular to a different province or country,
bulletyou now have children, and didn't when your will was written,
bulletyour minor children are now adults,
bulletyou now have grandchildren,
bulletyour named executor has passed away or moved out of the area or province,
bulletyou would like to name a different executor, such as an adult child,
bulletyour spouse or any of your beneficiaries have passed away,
bulletyour financial situation has changed, causing you to want to change your bequests


 - Having a will (or 2), and keeping it up to date, can reduce problems and leave more of your estate for your heirs.

 - Make sure you have your will prepared or reviewed by a legal professional to ensure it complies with current provincial legislation.

Revised: October 26, 2023


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