Wills & Estates Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between my Will and my Power of Attorney?
Both these legal documents are prepared concerning your wishes on your property, possession and loved ones. Power of Attorney is about continuing your wishes while you are alive until your death. Your will is about what happens after you die.
Can I write my own will?
If you want to write your own will, here are the main things you will need to include:
- Your full name
- Statement that this will is your last will and testament
- Full date when you are writing your will
- The person who you choose to be the Executor(s) to administer you estate
- Your wishes
- Your signature along with signatures from two witnesses.
Who can be a witness to my will?
To avoid a conflict of interest, choose a seperate witness from the beneficiary.
What’s the role of the executor of my will?
The executor is the person who is legally responsible for overseeing and settling your will and estates. This person has a number of duties and responsibilities:
- File a copy of your original will with the local probate office
- Notify the banks, credit card companies and other institutions
- Maintain any property till its distributed
- 4. Pay the taxes and the debts of your estate.
Who can be the executor of my will?
This is a very important role of your will and you must be certain of who you choose. This person can also be a beneficiary of your will. You can pick choose among your family members (must be an adult) or a trustworthy friend. If this becomes a much more complicated matter, choose someone with estate expertise like a Wills & Estate lawyer. If you prefer, you may choose joint executors, a combination of a person of your choosing and a lawyer.
What happens if I have multiple wills?
If your family discovers multiple wills, the court will most likely choose the most recent version to settle the assets. If the situation gets complicated and lengthy, a legal professional will be assigned to mediate with the families and resolve this situation through a probate litigation. It is best make sure you don’t have multiple wills to avoid this situation.
What happens if I lost my will?
If you have lost your will, this wouldn’t automatically revoke your will. A true copy of the original can be used to obtain a grant of probate. If this is not present the estate will be distributed according to a previous will or intestacy. Dealing with a lost will is very difficult, make sure you keep your original will in safe and accessible place. You may want to keep a copy with the executor or beneficiary.
What happens if my will is destroyed?
As the testator, you can destroy your will which will then be revoked. You may destroy it by burning or tearing it. If you are planning on writing a new will, the previous one maybe destroyed like this.
Where do I keep my will safe?
You have three options to keeping your will safe while leaving it accessible:
1. Keep it in asafe deposit box or safe. Make sure this place is not easily accessible to intruders to keep this documents safe and confidential. And keep your documents safe from disasters that might destroy them. Let your executor know where these documents are stored and give them access.
2. Keep it with someone safe (executor or lawyer). If you decide to leave it with the lawyer, make sure your family knows who the lawyer is and his/her address and phone number.
3. Store it with the Courts of Ontario for $20.
What will happen to my estate if you die without a will?
Dying without a valid will can leave you as an intestate (you have left no instructions on how you want your estate to be settled). This is where the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act will step in and govern how your property will be settled among your relatives.
Since there will a lot of problems that could arise with leaving no will, it is highly recommended that you write one.
How does marriage affect my Will?
Your previous will can be revoked after marriage, unless marriage was considered. To show this, there should be a statement indicating the future marriage and the name of your spouse. If you don’t have a renewed will after marriage and you die, it would be considered that you have died intestate. Your estate will now be distributed according to the Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act.
How does divorce affect my Will?
In the case of a divorce, your will won’t be revoked. The parts that will be revoked from your spouse whom can longer be your executor, trustee or guardian, and anything left to your former spouse will now go to someone else. If you do get a divorce, revoke your previous will and write a new one immediately.
What’s best for my spouse and I, a joint will or a separate will?
A joint will that is signed by the two spouses will leave their assets and property to each other, while a separate will can cover each other separately.
A joint will is “locked in” after one of the spouses die, and it can be a burden for the living spouse to update and make changes. Since you still have independent estates, consider getting a separate will or even a mirror will. A mirror will be identical to a joint will, but this can be updated at any time like a separate will.
How do I cancel my last will?
If you want to revoke or cancel the previous will, start with writing a new will, you will want to avoid dying without a last will at all costs.