Courtesy of David Mills from Mills and Mills LLP.
You believe that you should decide how your hard-earned estate will be divided, not the government. Under Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act, the estate of a person who dies without a Will is distributed according to a specific set of rules. These are often inconsistent with what an individual would choose for him- or herself.
You have young children. In a Will you can provide instructions as to who should be named Guardians of your children if both you and your spouse die. You can also express your wishes with respect to the continued upbringing of your children and establish a continuing trust for their care, education or other purposes. Without a Will, your children’s inheritance will be administered by a government agency rather than a person of your choosing. Finally, if you die without a Will, your children will receive their inheritance as a lump sum when they turn 18, which many parents feel is not appropriate.
You prefer to pay less tax, not more. A properly prepared Will and estate plan can help minimize taxes that will be payable on your death, ensuring that your loved ones receive as much as possible.
You would prefer that your estate go to your loved ones, not lawyers. Conflicts over estates are mine-fields that are very destructive to families, both financially and emotionally. A relatively small investment in seeking legal assistance with your estate planning can save tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees (which in most cases will be entirely paid by your estate) if your unplanned or poorly planned estate is challenged by one or more beneficiaries.