Why do you need a Will?
The main reasons that our clients engage us to draft their Wills are:
- They have minor children;
- A family member or close friend has suddenly passed away;
- They own property including real estate, non registered investments, and/or private company shares;
- They want to ensure that their digital accounts such as social media and online banking will be closed when they pass away;
- They have specific wishes about how they want their assets distributed; and
- For tax planning and estate planning reasons.
What happens if you die without a Will?
For us, as parents of two young boys and as lawyers, we understood the importance of having Wills. However, it was the realization of what could happen if we did not have Wills that caused more concern for us. In British Columbia, when someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died “intestate” and the laws of B.C. determine how their property is distributed, who administers the estate and who is the legal guardian of any minor children. The process inevitably results in legal fees, delays and potential disputes between family members of the deceased. At a time when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing you want to do is to have to navigate through the legal system.
The Importance of naming a Guardian and an Executor
Personally, the process of drafting our Wills was not easy or fun. Like many of our clients, we had good intentions but kept putting it off for one reason or another. Nobody wants to think about dying and we believe that we are still young and plan to be alive for a long time. However, we felt it was important to draft our Wills because in a worst case scenario, we wanted to make sure that we appointed the legal guardian of our choice for our boys and establish trusts for them that would provide for their future education. We also wanted to make sure that we appointed an executor that we trusted and who had the knowledge required to administer our estate.
What is Probate?
One of the roles of the executor is to obtain a grant of probate. Probate is the process of having a Court of law establish that a Will is valid and determining the value of an estate. The court determines the probate fees, which are approximately equal to 1.4% of the value of the estate. Given the recent surge in values of real estate in B.C., probate fees of an estate can be significant. It usually takes several months for an executor to obtain a grant of probate during which time the assets cannot pass to the beneficiaries. Further, a grant of probate is a public document which means that anybody can find out the details of your assets after you pass. It is important to note that when somebody dies intestate, probate is mandatory. Therefore, you will need a valid Will if you wish to consider any probate planning strategies. You can read more about probate planning strategies in the following blog as well as how Ashdin Law can tie in these strategies to your estate plan and protect your privacy.
Connect with Ashdin Law if you need to draft or update your Will
If you need to draft or update your Will, connect with either Shelly Lila or Ish Lila. We take great pride in being part of the local Coquitlam community and take a family first approach. One of the many benefits of working with Ashdin Law is that Ish Lila is a tax lawyer and can also provide the necessary tax planning and estate planning advice which often involves the use of trusts. In addition, Ish and Shelly take a collaborative approach when drafting Wills for our clients and as parents we understand the well-being of your children is your main priority. Knowing that your Will is properly drafted can give you peace of mind and you can be confident that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes.
The above provides a practical overview about Wills. This blog is for informational purposes only. Readers are cautioned this blog does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. Rather, readers should obtain specific legal advice in relation to the issues they are facing.