It’s a sad fact, that no matter how solid family ties are between siblings all Hell will break loose if you don’t have a Will. In many case it becomes a free-for-all if there is no Will to be found. It can be very damaging to the family you leave behind. The best alternative is to purchase printable last will testament forms that will keep the vultures at bay.
The vultures aren’t always family members. When my mother passed away without a Will the province took over the process of handling her final estate. It was demoralizing to keep getting statements in the mail stating how much money was taken from her estate for fees associated with handling of her estate.
She didn’t have all that much as she was living in a retirement facility when she passed away. When the dust settled, almost 40% of the funds she had in her bank account went to paying the province for taking care of the legal issues. I have no idea what happened to her personal belongings, like photos for instance. They simply disappeared. It didn’t help matters that she was not living in the same province as her three kids when she passed away.
WHY IS A WILL IMPORTANT?
The most obvious reason why a will is important is that you get to decide who gets what when it comes to a home, investments, furnishings, automobiles, cash, and personal items. It’s just as important if you don’t have kids. Perhaps there is a favorite charity you would like to will your money to.
Maybe you have a grandchild you want to leave special items to. Like for instance, a piece of jewlery that has been in the family for generations. Maybe your kids are struggling to buy a home and you can leave money to help them out.
Whatever the reason, having a will makes distribution of your assets so much more seamless and cost effective. If you let government officials handle your estate things could become a mess in a hurry.
If you die without a will you’re said to have died “intestate”. The law will decides how your property will be distributed, and who has the right to “administer” your estate.
Many seniors forget about the regular, everday items that they possess. Where do you want your furniture and clothes to go when you pass away. You can specify individual items to certain people, or choose to donate household goods to specific charities.
If you have a vehicle in your name when you die, it will enter some sort of Limbo. It will sit until a decision is made by the Probate Court on ownership. According to the law, it’s illegal to drive a car of a deceased relative if there is no will designating the vehicle to someone. If there is an accident while driving a vehicle of a deceased relative, both the estate and driver are potentially liable and will be sued.
CAN YOU WRITE A WILL WITHOUT A LAWYER?
Yes, you can certainly write a Will without a lawer. It’s not a bad idea and can save money if you have very little in the way of assets for surviving family to fight over. If you are a USA citizen you can find a Printable and affordable Last Will and Testament at Law Depot.
Because there are different laws in Canada, you will need to print off a Canadian version of do-it-yourself Will if you are a Canadian citizen.
If you have a large estate it could create a nightmare when you’re gone should you decide to go it alone and do a Will yourelf. Most banks, government agencies, lawyers, and courts are rightfully wary of Wills that are written without the help of a lawyer. This is especially true of hand-written wills.
If you have a substantial estate to distribute, it would be wise to have a lawyer help you with your will.
Sometimes, it takes very little to determine who inherits your assets. There is one particular story out of Canada that stands out.
About 74 years ago, a farmer in Saskatchewan had his tractor roll over and pin him underneath. He realized that he might well die before anyone came to help and scratched a message into the fender of his tractor with his pocket knife.
“In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo Harris”
The fender was removed from the tractor and determined by the courts to be a valid holographic or handwritten will. It was a historic event because of the circumstances and attracted worldwide attention. It was written in a manner very brief, there was no doubt about his wishes and so the courts accepted it without a blink.
Read the entire story as published in the Globe and Mail in 2013.
It’s not recommended that you do this with your will. What happened in Saskatewan was obviously an exceptional circumstance and the correct decision was made by the courts.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEGAL FORMS
There are printable legal forms available for pretty much any legal situation at the Law Depot.
Whether you need to write a will, codicil, affidavit, end-of-life plan, living will, or Medical Power of Attorney, to name just a few, you can find the appropriate documents at Law Depot.
Legal documents for any situation are crucial to ensure things are done according you your wishes. To ignore filling out the appropiate forms, regardless of the situation, can result in a huge legal mess that might take several years to straighten out.
You might want to check out burial insurance options as well.