What is a will?

A will is a legal document that dictates how your assets and wealth will be distributed upon your passing. Without a will, a person is said to have died intestate, which means their assets and wealth will be distributed in accordance with the formula in the Succession Law Reform Act. If you want a say in the matter, it is important to create a will and clearly state your intentions regarding the distribution of your estate.


There are four steps to creating a will.


Firstly, you must choose who will be the executor of your estate. The executor ensures that all of your assets and wealth are being distributed according to your wishes. This is a very important job and should be reserved for someone you trust.


Secondly, you must account for all of the assets that are rightfully yours. This can mean everything from the ring on your finger to the house you live in, and even the computer you are using right now. It is very important to not leave anything unaccounted for.


Thirdly, you must list all of the people that you would like to distribute these assets to. These people are called beneficiaries. After you have identified the list of beneficiaries, go ahead and indicate what items from your estate will go to each person.

It is useful to know that you do not have to list just one beneficiary for every item. It may be the case that you want to leave the family home with all of your children as beneficiaries. This is completely okay. What this means is that all of your children will hold title to that property. Should that property be sold, the proceeds would be divided amongst your children equally, or per your specification in the will.


The last step is review, review, review. Try to ensure there is no doubt in your will. Disputes often arise because there is a modicum of doubt that allows one or more beneficiaries to think they are entitled to an asset that they may not be entitled to. To avoid this, express your wishes as explicitly as possible. It would also be a good idea to have a dispute resolution process if disputes were to arise.