Of course, no one likes thinking about the end. It’s morbid, it’s gloomy, and let’s face it – no fun. So when it comes to drafting a will, people often put it off far too long. But the best thing you can do is just get it over with and rest easy knowing that your estate is in order and your next of kin will not be unduly stressed down the road.
However, before you get started, here are a few things to know.
- Wills, what are they good for?
Simply put, if you don’t have a will, you don’t have any control over what happens to your estate after you die.
A will exists to make sure that your decisions are honoured to the letter of the law. Is there bad blood in your family? It happens, especially with divorce and re-marriage and the bewildering combinations of step and biological family that can occur. If you want your will to hold up to your wishes, then you need to consider messy scenarios like…
- What are Probate Fees?
In order for the executor of your will to have the authority to carry out your wishes he or she will need to apply for a Grant of Probate. In order to get that Grant they will have to pay a percentage of the value of your estate as a fee or tax. Probate fees, however, only apply to what’s in your estate. There are ways, such as using joint-tenancy or living trusts, to reduce the fees and let your relatives keep more of the money you earned. This isn’t something you can do by ordering a cheap will package from late night TV. You need a wills, estates and trusts lawyer to do it properly.
- Let people know you have one – and, more importantly, where it is.
What happens if your relatives can’t find your will? Believe us, it happens. You can have excellent, bulletproof documentation, but if no one has any idea where you are keeping it, it’s good for nothing.
At DBM, we keep your will on file, right here at our 1015 Austin Avenue address – in a fireproof safe. You can rest assured knowing that we will notify your next of kin and provide them the documents they will need for a seamless estate transfer.
- Know all the varieties of variation claims.
If you don’t want your family to squabble, or your will to be challenged, it is important to think about all the ‘what ifs.’ Variation claims can occur when one family member feels that they have been neglected from a fair share of the estate, or that they have been overlooked entirely. Before you begin, let’s sit down and carefully consider every angle of your will. If you truly want peace of mind and reassurance, go with a lawyer that has over 40 years of experience in the field.