WILL–O–MATIC: WHY YOU SHOULDN’T LEAVE YOUR ESTATE TO CHANCESep 28 2015
No will, no problem right? What’s the worst that could happen? A lot actually.
If you die intestate (without a will), all your assets (including your home, bank account, car as well as your belongings) will be distributed in the manner set out in the Wills, Estate and Succession Act. In other words you are allowing the government to decide how and to whom your assets will be dispersed. Not only may this incur an additional expense for your estate but it also may cause lengthy and unforeseen delays.
No problem, you think. You’ll just get one of those do-it-yourself kits, the ones that you’ve seen in the store aisles or online. That should work, right? While these may cover off some of the basics, these kits are not comprehensive since estate planning involves many variables. These kits often do not deal with all of an individual’s estate. If you think you’re saving money, a poorly done do-it-yourself will can actually cause more problems than it seeks to solve.
A qualified estate lawyer can aid significantly in the estate-planning process and can help you avoid major pitfalls. There are many common issues that must be handled properly. If you had hoped to establish a trust fund for your children, grandchildren or a person with disabilities, you will need a qualified lawyer to do so. In one case, a beneficiary had his monthly government disability and health benefits terminated because a simple trust provision was not included in a do-it-yourself will.
For spouses who complete their wills and estate planning together, a qualified estate lawyer can advise you on the pros and cons of avoiding probate (a legal court procedure that confirms the validity of a will and the appointment of the executor) and the fees associated with this process.
And with many different variations existing on family make-up, such as blended families, cohabitation arrangements, or farming or business families, a qualified estate lawyer can offer insight into addressing unique will or estate issues that others may not be facing.
To help put things in perspective, think of estate planning in the same way that you would think of buying insurance. You purchase home and car insurance to protect your investments. Getting a will done with the help from the qualified estate lawyers at RDM Lawyers LLP is akin to having “family insurance”.