24 Oct Do you have a Child? Five reasons to get a Will…
We are often asked by clients whether they require a will. Our typical response is that (almost) everyone needs a will, however, it is especially important if you have children as you want to ensure that your children are properly cared for both financially and emotionally. Here are five reasons to create a will:
- Age of inheritance. If you do not have a will, your children will receive their share of your estate upon turning 19 years of age. We find that the large majority of clients wish for the funds to be held in trust, giving the trustee authority to release funds for medical, education and other needs with the majority of the funds to be held to a later age (for example, 25 years).
- Guardianship. If you pass away while your child is a minor, you will want to name someone to be legally responsible for your child. If you do not have a will or another document wherein you name a guardian of your minor children, you have no control over who will raise your children.
- Trustee. If you have a beneficiary who will not receive their funds immediately, the funds will be held in trust by the trustee (often the trustee and the executor are the same person). If you pass away and your minor child is a beneficiary, your trustee will hold the funds for the child until the child reaches the stipulated age. Your trustee is typically empowered with releasing funds to your child for education, health care and general well-being so you want to ensure that your trustee clearly understands your wishes.
- Executor. The executor is the person or company that you appoint to carry out your wishes and to administer your estate in accordance with your will. Your executor will ensure that all the assets are accounted for, pay out your debts and provide any gifts and the “residue” of your estate, or any funds left over after debts have been paid out, to your trustees, in trust for beneficiaries, or directly to beneficiaries (assuming they are the age of majority).
- Beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the individuals who inherit your estate when you pass away. If you do not have a will, you have no choice over who receives your assets and in what proportions. BC legislation, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”), sets out who your beneficiaries are if you do not have a will. In creating a basic estate plan, often the spouse is named as beneficiary, followed by the children. You will want to ensure that your family is properly cared for. Often clients will also obtain insurance from their advisor to provide further support.
If you have any questions about your will, whether it is reviewing your current will or preparing a new will, please feel free to contact Sitka Law Group. We are located on Shelbourne Street near the border of Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria.