Why do I need a Will?
A Will allows you to state who receives what, and when they receive it, following your death. You can leave specific assets to designated people. You can state that your house is not to be sold until your youngest child has finished school. You can leave jewelry to your daughter, or fishing gear to your son. You can prepare a memo, leaving items of personal property to certain individuals, and incorporate this into your will, as long as the memo is made and dated before the will is signed.
And if I don't have a Will?
A government statute - the Succession Law Reform Act - dictates what happens to your estate.
Without a Will, all of your assets might possibly be sold, and your beneficiaries, as determined by the government - not by you, will receive their inheritance in cash. Family members usually prefer some mementos or heirlooms instead of all cash.
If you are married, and you die without a Will, your spouse does NOT necessarily inherit all of your assets. If your estate is worth less than seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00), your spouse will receive everything. However, If your estate is worth substantially more, and if you have children or grandchildren, your spouse could inherit less than one-half of your estate.
When Children Receive Their Inheritance:
Without a Will, a government employee may dictate which child receives your assets, regardless of how mature he or she might be.
With a Will, you can decide at what age or ages your child will receive some or all of an inheritance. If you were to select the age of twenty-five (25) years, for example, you can also give your executor and trustee power to distribute some or all of the inheritance before that age if it is for a useful purpose such as education. As children grow older and mature (or don't mature), you can change your Will and amend the age(s) and/or the percentage(s) of inheritance.