Exercise your rights with a will

(NC) Writing a will is one of those responsibilities many people put off indefinitely. But the fact is, nobody should be without a will.

A will gives you the unique opportunity to exercise your rights and to decide where your assets go. If you make use of this right; nothing will be left open to misinterpretation. Your wishes will be respected.

If there is no will, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of the province where you live. These laws are inflexible and may not take into consideration the care of people or organizations you wish to remember. The way to ensure your wishes are followed is to have a will. Here are some facts to consider:

Provincial laws are not adequate for most situations. They’re impersonal, don’t make exceptions and property is distributed according to an all-purpose plan. They may deplete your estate unnecessarily, for example, requiring that a court-appointed administrator is bonded.

The laws also fly blind trying to guess your desires concerning who should be your administrator or who should be the guardian of your children if they are minors.

They also cannot make charitable bequests or gifts to causes such as Amnesty International which you supported in your lifetime. Only a personal will can do that.

Everyone needs a will. It’s a common misunderstanding that only wealthy people need wills. In fact, the smaller the estate is, the more important it be settled quickly to avoid additional expense. This can only happen with a properly written will. Remember that even family members with the best intentions may be puzzled and confused as to what your wishes may have been in the absence of a will.

Wills are less expensive than you think. Wills are usually less costly than people expect and definitely less than the emotional and financial cost of not having a proper will. Lawyers charge for their time and knowledge, so the more time you can save them, the less the cost will be. Some simple steps you can take to save money. Include making a list of all your property (including real estate, bonds, savings accounts, RRSPs, jewelry, family heirlooms and works of art). Listing the people you want to provide for, including their ages, addresses and relationship to you; naming your executor and alternate executor (preferably both younger than yourself). And suggesting a guardian for your children if they’re minors.

To receive a free information package on wills and bequests, please write to Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Ave. East, Suite 204, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H9.



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