Five reasons why every Canadian woman should have her own will
Making a will is a sensible and worthwhile task that everybody, whatever their age or financial status, should do. However there are some special reasons why women should make a will of their own:
• Women usually live longer than their husbands, so it's a good idea for each of you to have your own will.
• Planning for children or other dependants is something that women usually want to pay special attention to.
• Taxes and legal concerns (especially if there was a previous marriage or other dependants) should be looked at.
• Many women will want to make special arrangements for the distribution of family heirlooms, jewellery, items of historical or sentimental value, and their own property.
• Continuing the support for charities and organizations that many women supported during their lifetimes may be a consideration.
A will lets you decide
With a properly prepared will, you can ensure that:
• Property will be distributed exactly as you would have wished;
• You can name your own executor to administer your estate;
• Guardians of children will be named in the way you want;
• Personal items such as jewellery and antiques will be handled the way you intend;
• Individuals, your church, health charities and organizations like Amnesty International will receive the support you had always intended for them.
Common questions include:
How do I start?
If you do not have a will, now is the time to prepare one. While a will does not need to be a complicated document, it is always advisable to contact a lawyer or trust company to help you. The peace of mind which comes from ensuring there are no small mistakes or omissions which could cause difficulties for your heirs is well worth the costs of such services.
Can I change my will?
Yes, you can always change your will, either completely or by means of a codicil, which is a document that adds to or alters your existing will. You should seek legal advice to do this as requirements vary from province to province.
Should I leave money to a good cause?
Always take care of your loved ones first, but then consider if there are organizations and causes you'd also like to support with your estate. The tradition of leaving money to charities that benefit society and your community is many centuries old. Today, people at all income levels support organizations like the Cancer Society or Amnesty International through their wills. These bequests are a vital source of funds for the organizations and stand as a lasting memorial to the donor. For individuals who feel that they cannot afford to make a large donation to a cause they support during their lifetime, a bequest in a will can be a good way to make a lasting contribution.