Canadian Cancer Society Article

Top Reasons Why You Need a Will

Why do I need a Will and Estate plan?
This is a common question among Canadians.

Janice Williams, Mamger, Gift Planning, Canadian Cancer Society

Janice Williams
Manager, Estate & Gift Planning
Canadian Cancer Society

People often believe they are too young, not rich enough or everything will just go to their spouse or the kids. Maybe they are uncomfortable discussing the topic with family or superstitious about planning for their demise. Whatever the reason, almost 45% of adult Canadians do not have a will.

Nobody wants to think about their will, but dealing with your estate planning now will have a huge impact on the legacy you leave behind.

Top reasons to have a will:

You decide how your estate will be distributed, not the government.
Without a will you are deemed to die intestate. This means the government distributes your estate to family members based on provincial criteria.

Your will appoints a guardian for your children.
Appointing a guardian for your underage or dependent children is the most important reason to have a legally valid will. Providing instructions for their care and financial support can prevent a fight over guardianship in court, which would create stress for everyone, especially your children.

Your will can ensure that less of your estate goes to taxes.
At the time of your death, you’re deemed to dispose of all capital property, and your estate must cover the tax on any capital gains. Without an estate plan you won’t be able to take advantage of tax-saving strategies.

Your will allows you to leave gifts to friends and charity.
Without a will only certain family members will inherit your estate — no friends or charities. A bequest to a charity is an expression of your beliefs and values.

A will allows you to designate your gift to a specific program or area of priority through your chosen charity.

Everyone’s personal situation varies but a thoughtful and well prepared will is the best way to ensure family, friends and charities that are important to you benefit from your estate and your wishes are carried out.

Do you have an up-to-date will? If not, speak to your family, financial advisor and a lawyer and take it off your “to-do list.” Life does not always go as we plan — be prepared.