Four important reasons to get a will

November 3, 2015

The University of Saskatchewan College of Law is home to a peculiar fender from a tractor. What makes this fender special is that Cecil George Harris carved his will into it after the tractor fell onto him. In mortal peril Harris recognized the importance of leaving a will behind, and the "document" ultimately proved legally binding.

But a will is too important to leave to the last minute, no matter how dramatic a person's death may or may not be. Here are four reasons that make it obvious that writing a will, before you're facing the end of your life, is a necessity.

Four important reasons to get a will

Prevent delays in financial disbursement

One of the biggest downsides to not having a will is the fact that the distribution of your finances may be delayed.

When an untimely death occurs, surviving family members are often faced with financial burdens that could be eased if they had access to the deceased's remaining estate. A will can clarify who is entitled to what, which can help ease these burdens.

Unfortunately, when an individual dies without a will, several people may try to claim assets. In turn, this mess of claims can result in lengthy court proceedings. In the end, this ends up hurting the people that the deceased loved the most.

Keep the provincial authority from dividing your estate

In the absence of a will in Canada, provincial authorities are the ones who disburse a person's estate after their death.

Due to some laws, this could result in a separated spouse receiving an entire estate and no money being distributed to surviving children or family members.

Thankfully, a proper will can prevent this and ensure that the people who deserve inclusion in the deceased's estate receive it.

Ability to put conditions on inheritance

One thing that many people worry about is not having a voice and being unable to influence events in the world after their death. A properly executed will, however, changes this to some extent.

It is possible to put conditions in a will that can grant a person their inheritance only when those conditions are met.

Here's an example of a common condition: "I leave this to Judy, but only to be received after graduating college."

Keep in mind, though, that conditions involving religion, marriage or divorce are often unenforceable under the law.

Ability to choose an executor

Although it's easy to think that having a will means that your entire estate is magically distributed immediately upon your death, this just isn't the case.

Assets must be tracked down and managed until distribution, your will must be filed, taxes and debts must be paid from the estate and property must be distributed.

But, instead of allowing the courts to handle this process, a person who leaves a will behind can choose their own executor.

In the end, designating their own executor gives a person the peace of mind of knowing that someone they trust will be in control of their estate.

Along with the four reasons mentioned here, there are countless benefits to having a will. These legal documents will ensure that your wishes are carried out after death, and, in the end, they can make life much easier for those you leave behind.

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