Many folks only require a basic will and a very simple estate plan.
The test is not how much money you have, it is whether your ‘circumstances’ are simple.
You may only need a simple or basic will if:
- You want all of your assets to go to your spouse (married or common law) (with the entire estate to be shared equally by your children if your spouse has predeceased you); and,
- You want your spouse to be the primary estate trustee; and,
- You are certain that all beneficiary designations on your registered accounts (TFSA, RRIF, RRSP, life insurance) to properly designate the right person, and
- You have ensured that title to your home is properly registered to fit with your estate plan (joint with your spouse for instance)
- You have no spouse, and you want your entire estate to go to your children equally, with one or more of your children who lives in Ontario to be the executor(s); and
- You are certain that all beneficiary designations on your registered accounts (TFSA, RRIF, RRSP, life insurance) to properly designate the right person, likely your estate (and NOT one of your adult children), and
- You have ensured that title to your home is properly registered to fit with your estate plan (likely with you the sole owner and NOT joint with one of your children).
Our recommendations for good online services for basic wills are here.
A basic Will is not a good solution for you if any of the following applies:
- You do not want your estate to go outright to your spouse (married or common law);
- You do not want your spouse (and no you) to be able to determine how they give away your assets in their will;
- You do not want one or more of your children to share in your estate;
- You have a blended family and want your children (not just your spouse’s children) to benefit from your estate at some time;
- You want to chose an executor who does not live in Ontario;
- Someone you want to benefit is on social assistance (including Ontario Disability Support (ODSP), or is incapable of managing their finances (their finances are managed by a guardian or attorney for property);
- You want to have assets held in trust for any beneficiary for a number of years;
- You own a business;
- You want advice on taxes and tax planning; or,
- You own assets outside Ontario.
If you only require a basic Will, we recommend that you consult a local lawyer, or consider one of these two very cost-effective online services Willful or LegalWills.ca.