Why you need a Will and how to make one

By Kathryn Lara 

Note: This information is not intended as legal or financial advice. If you are considering making a Will, please speak with an independent advisor about your wishes to ensure that they reflect your financial circumstances and goals.  

According to a recent survey from Angus Reid, half of Canadians say they do not have a Will. Some people think they are too young to create one or that they lack sufficient assets to make one necessary. For others it’s too uncomfortable to think about a Will because it reminds them of death.   

Making a Will, like planning for retirement, is essential for every adult regardless of age, home ownership, or financial status. In this blog, we will explain why you need a Will and how to make one.   


Why do I need a Will?   

When someone passes away, there are so many things for surviving loved ones to sort through, including the deceased’s home, their finances, and more. And usually all of that is happening in the midst of significant grief. It’s a lot to manage. A Will clearly lays out your wishes, and most importantly, gives your loved ones a legal tool to facilitate a smooth process through the legal, financial, and social systems they will have to navigate in your absence.  

Making a Will is an opportunity to reflect on what is important to you, and to see your values recorded in your final wishes. It gives you peace of mind to know your loved ones will be cared for, and it gives them the comfort of knowing that your wishes have been met.  

A Will allows you to designate who will care for your dependents including children and pets, and it lets you decide how you want your assets distributed. Assets can include simple possessions, items of sentimental value, a small savings account, a vehicle, heirlooms, investments, and property. In addition, making a Will allows you to maximize tax benefits through charitable giving and often includes pathways to other important legal documents like Powers of Attorney. 

A Will keeps you and your wishes at the forefront. Without one, the courts use provincial and territorial laws to determine who inherits what you leave behind. 


How to make a Will 

Making a Will is not something we learn to do in school, and it can be hard to know how to get started. Here are some things to consider: 

In most cases, a Will needs to be in writing, signed by the Will maker in the presence of two witnesses over the age of 18, who also sign the document. However, there may be additional requirements in your province or territory. Take the time to do the research.  

For relatively simple estates, online Will writing tools are a straightforward and inexpensive way to produce a legal Will. For complex estates, using the assistance of a lawyer might be a better option.  


Free Webinar on how to make a Will 

In the New Year, be on the look out for a free webinar with Erin Bury, a Save the Children board member, and Co-founder and CEO of Willful.co, an online estate-planning platform that makes it easy for Canadians to create a legal Will. Register for the webinar and get ready to learn everything you need to know! 

You will also learn about how including a charity like Save the Children in your final wishes can benefit you. You can ensure that your family and loved ones are cared for and continue to advance the rights of children in Canada and around the world.    


For more information on the free webinar, or for a free and detailed Will Planner and Guide, email me at leavealegacy@savethechildren.ca or call me at 1-800-668-5036 ext. 265