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Our Guide to Including Your Children in Your Will

Preparing your last will early and updating it to accommodate significant life changes is incredibly important. Not only will it stipulate how to distribute your estate and possessions after your passing, but it will also ensure that your minor-aged children are well-taken care of and under the right guardianship. Without the protection of your will, there’s a good chance that they may undergo a lengthy, complex process to determine custody, putting them under significant emotional distress.

Fortunately, you can avoid this scenario by working with a will and estate lawyer in Kanata to draft a comprehensive will. You can lay out specific arrangements, like the person legally responsible for raising your children after your death and a trustee to manage the funds you allocate to them. Here is what you need to know about caring for your dependent children after your death through your will:

Appointing a Guardian

The first protection you should offer your children in your will is their guardian, who will assume the role of providing for your children and raising them upon the passing of you and your spouse. You can appoint one or more persons to fulfill this role in compliance with section 61 of the Children’s Law Reform Act. 

Another option you can take is to select a different guardian per child for a particular situation. However, take note that this kind of appointment is valid only for 90 days. During this period, the custodian must submit a court application to pursue permanent status. Still, the application doesn’t guarantee this, as the judge can overturn the appointment if the situation has changed significantly between the will’s writing and guardianship appointment. For instance, the guardian may be struggling with various aspects of their life and may be unable to care for your children. Usually, the court respects the testator’s final wishes, ensuring your child receives the care you have designated for them.

Appointing a Trustee

Appointing someone to manage your children’s finances, especially if your children are very young, is just as important as selecting a guardian. The trustee can also be the guardian, although this doesn’t always have to be the case. They are also responsible for overseeing your assets and determining their allocation to your children. For example, you and your spouse may decide to restrict your children’s access to a large inheritance until a certain age, ensuring they’ll be mature enough to manage it. In the meantime, the trustee will control these funds and ensure they continue growing or stay untouched.

The trust can cover your children’s various needs. For instance, if your child sustains an injury and requires treatment that provincial health plans do not cover, the trustee can use funds from the trust to pay for it. If your child expresses a sincere interest in a hobby or niche requiring expensive equipment, the trustee can also decide to use funds for it as well, especially if they are deemed to be in the child’s best interest. 

Conclusion

Creating a will is crucial to continue providing for your children in the event of an untimely death. It also ensures their protection in the event of a complicated family dynamic, such as being in a second marriage or other types of blended families. These wills must be explicit about who inherits the assets. Otherwise, they may be challenged in court. By working with an Ottawa estate planning lawyer, you can avoid such scenarios and ensure your children have what they need to live healthily and be successful.

Ontario Wills offers high-quality legal advice from lawyers in Kanata, Ontario, by video conference. With our services, you can do your will the right way from the comfort of your home. Contact us today to find out more about creating an airtight will that protects your children!

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