Kamloops Estate Lawyers’ Top 5 Tips to Consider When Preparing Your Will

A will protects your assets and your family in the event of your death and gives you peace of mind during your lifetime. A well-drafted gives you control over how your estate is distributed on your death, who will administrator your estate, and who will take care of your minor children. If you do not have a will, BC law will apply to determine who manages your estate and who will inherit your property when you die. BC “intestacy” rules will not likely reflect your wishes and can lead to disputes within your family.

Despite the benefits of having a will, many people do not have a will, and some people are reluctant to even think about their wishes for what happens on their death. If that sounds like you, our Kamloops lawyers are here to help – contact us today to book your free initial consultation. To get you started, here are our Kamloops estate lawyers’ top five tips to consider when preparing your will.

1. What do you own, and what do you owe?
To make an effective estate plan, you need to have a clear picture of all the assets and property you own and how you own it You also need to consider what you may owe, as your debts and liabilities have to be paid out before your estate can be distributed to your beneficiaries. Take a look at this questionnaire prepared by Martin & Martin Lawyers Kamloops, which will get you thinking about the types of assets and liabilities your will should address.
2. What assets or property will pass outside of my estate?
In addition to considered what property you own, consider how you own it. For example, do you and your spouse own your home as joint tenants? Do you and your spouse have a joint bank account? If so, your interest in any jointly held property or bank account automatically passes to the surviving joint owner on your death – that means you can’t give your interest to someone else in your will. In addition, consider any beneficiary designations you have made (for example, if you hold a life insurance policy or have a retirement benefit plan). If you have designated a specific beneficiary to receive the proceeds of a plan or policy, that asset does not form part of your estate.
3. Who do you want to manage your estate?
The executor you name in your will manages your estate on your death and is responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. This can be a big job with a lot of responsibility and paperwork, and there are a number of factors to consider in choosing your executor, including:
• Is there a family member or close friend you want to be your executor, or would you prefer a lawyer or private trust company to manage your estate?
• Should there be one executor or more than one?
• If you name multiple executors, do you want them to be able to act individually or do you want them to have to make decisions together?
• Who will be the alternate or “back-up” executor if your first choice is unable or unwilling to take on the task?
4. Who will inherit your estate?
Beneficiaries are the people that you name in your will to receive a gift or inheritance upon your death. You will need to consider who you want to benefit from your estate and how your estate will be divided among those beneficiaries (for example, in equal shares vs. a set amount of cash). Consider as well if there are any personal possessions that you want to gift to a specific person (for example, jewellery, vehicles, art, or special family heirlooms). You will also need to think about whether you want the inheritance to be given to the beneficiary outright or held in trust, and what happens to a beneficiary’s share if they die before you. You may also want to consider whether there is anyone who may have a claim to your estate that you specifically wish to disinherit in your will.
5. What is the plan for the care and support of your children?
If your children are under the age of majority (which is 19 in BC), your will should contain your wishes for who you want to raise your children. Your preference as to who should be appointed as guardian of your children is not legally binding on that person, but the courts will give significant weight to your wishes. It is common to set up a trust in your will to pay for the care and expenses of your children, and it is important to note as well that by law, a minor cannot directly receive bequests of money or property. Your will needs to appoint a trustee to be in charge of the money you leave for your children until they are old enough to manage it themselves. The trustee can be the executor of your estate, or you can choose someone else (for example, the person you want to act as the guardian of the children). You can specify in your will the age at which you want your children to receive their inheritance, so consider whether you want that to be when they turn 19, or at a later age (for example, half at age 25 and the balance at age 30).
Get started today by calling our Kamloops estate lawyers
Kamloops estate lawyers at our firm offer a one-hour consultation, free of charge, wherein we discuss essential information and identify issues and concerns, so that you are fully informed with the knowledge necessary for your estate planning. To book your initial consultation, call Martin & Martin Lawyers TODAY for a BETTER TOMORROW!

 

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