It’s said that the only two certain things in life are death and taxes, yet more than half of all Ontarians have not created a will.
Currently 57 per cent of Ontarians don’t have a will and that number jumps to 89 per cent for those under the age of 35.
November is ‘Make A Will’ Month, and Canadians can now opt to craft a will online for under $100 with a new option recently approved by the Law Society of Ontario.
Willful is an online platform that can help you create a will with plans costing between $99 to $329.
Legal experts say having an estate plan is one of the greatest gifts you can leave behind, as it can help your family deal with your assets, prevent stress and make sure your wishes are carried out.
“You should have a will so your loved ones know what you want when you pass away and there is a clear plan for your assets and who should take care of your dependents,” Erin Bury, CEO of Willful, told CTV News Toronto.
Bury said an online will is an easy way to complete the process and can be updated over time.
“People don’t want to go into a lawyers office and spend thousands of dollars on what’s really writing a simple document,” she said.
David Edey of Montreal is a Certified Executor Advisor and the author of “Executor Help – How to Settle an Estate, Pick and Executor and Avoid Family Fights,” a book he wrote after having issues as an executor.
Edey said he wrote the book after it took seven years, ten court appearances, and $50,000 in legal fees to settle his parent’s estate.
“When being asked to be an executor about 99 per cent of people have no idea what to do,” Edey told CTV News Toronto, adding “the biggest problem is that family’s also don’t prepare the executor for the job they are to be responsible for.”
“Getting organized and having a will is the greatest gift of love you could leave your family. The important thing is that you don’t want to leave them a mess, you want to make it as easy as possible,” he said.
Edey said more communication before a loved one passes can prevent many problems.
Bury agrees you should tell the executor they have been chosen and share information with them.
“We always tell people you should tell them you appointed them as the executor because they don’t have to take on that role,” she said.
You should create or update a will after major life changes like a marriage, separation or divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary or executor or a change in assets.
You may wish to seek the services of a lawyer if you have a complicated estate, substantial assets, international property or feel the will could be challenged.
It can be an honor to be named an executor, but it’s a job that also involves a lot of time and effort as it can take hundreds of hours of work and a year or longer to settle an estate.