It is important to explain the general purpose of Wills before outlining the reasons why you should consider getting one. A Will is your opportunity to decide what you would like to happen with your assets at your death. Generally, your Will can provide for an immediate distribution of your assets to your chosen beneficiaries (friends, family, and charities) or the distribution can be delayed using “Trusts” (a topic for another day).
There are four primary reasons why you should have a Will:
- You can decide who will administer your estate. Otherwise someone must apply and be appointed by the court.
- You can select who will benefit from your estate. Otherwise your beneficiaries are selected pursuant to a Nova Scotia law called the Intestate Successions Act. This can be particularly problematic for Common Law spouses who are not considered “spouses” under the Act.
- You can provide for the management of assets for beneficiaries who are under the age of majority and appoint your preferred guardian for them.
- Tax planning. A proper estate plan can ensure that your estate does not pay excess income and probate taxes thereby placing more in the hands of your beneficiaries.
- Probate avoidance: Proper estate planning provides the option to arrange your estate in such a way that Probate will be unnecessary. Many people wish to do this because a the entirely of the Probated estate is subject to Probate Tax (a tax that is completely avoided if the estate is not Probated), records of the contents of the estate become public, there is often a substantial delay (often 6 months or more) in distributing the assets of the estate and legal fees are often incurred to help steer the estate through the Probate process.
And of course, there is piece of mind for the loved ones you leave behind. They can be confident that they are carrying out your wishes with respect to how you wanted your estate to be managed.
Planning your estate can be difficult. No one likes to think about the possibility of death or disability. We work hard to make the process as painless as possible. Our estate planning packages are offered at a flat rate for individuals who require reasonably standard documents.Please contact us if you would like to discuss your estate planning needs. You can call us at (902) 826-3070 to set up a meeting or contact us online.
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