Will You Be Ready – Do You Have a Will?
What happens if I die without a Will?
Loss of time, loss of money and loss of control. When you die without a Will (‘intestate’), no one has the authority to settle your final affairs until the Court says so, which usually means lengthy delays and higher legal fees. Time and money are lost, as is control over the division of your estate and more. The law of intestacy dictates what happens to your property, and the result may look much different than what you expect. Without a Will, the distribution of your property and guardianship of any minor children are out of your control.
Can I draft my own Will?
Something is always better than nothing. A handwritten or ‘holograph’ Will may do in a pinch. A farmer in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, etched out a valid Will on the side of the very tractor under which he was trapped using a pocket knife. However, certain issues may arise in drafting your own Will, either by hand or with a kit. Were someone to challenge such a Will, litigation could tie things up for years and eat up a large portion of the estate. By having a Will professionally drafted, a lawyer can attest to the specific instructions given by the testator and provide the Court with assurances that the testator was mentally competent and not subject to any undue influence by other parties.
Why do I need Powers of Attorney?
Your Will speaks from the date of your death. However, during your lifetime you’ll likely encounter the sort of hardship that requires sharing your decision-making power with someone you trust to look out for your best interest. A Power of Attorney speaks to that moment in time when you’re not capable of making decisions about your finances or health care, or, if capable of making those decisions, unable to carry them out yourself. You never know when that moment may come, and having these documents in place ensures that no time or money is lost in seeking the Court’s appointment of a guardian over your most important decisions.
Jamie Froats is an associate lawyer with Jim Dean Law who specializes in
the firm’s Wills and Estate business.