Everyone thinks that they want a simple will. But experience suggests that in fact many people have very complex estate situations.
The difference is not ‘how much money you have’.
The difference usually relates to how ‘simple’ or ‘complex’ your life has become.
A simple will works for:
- A young single person with no dependents who wants to leave their estate to their parents, one sibling, or charity.
- A young couple, just married with perhaps one house and a child or two, each of whom wants to leave all of their assets to their spouse.
If you fit in the above categories, a ‘will kit’ (online service without a lawyer) may meet your needs very cost-effectively. Learn more here.
Things rapidly get much more complex with any of the following:
- Separation or divorce
- Second marriage, where you want to provide for your new spouse and children from a first marriage
- Estrangement and you want to disinherit one of your children(or provide from them unequally)
- Blended families (either of you has children from a prior marriage)
- Desire to leave funds to a child (under 18) or to defer a gift until they reach a later age (such as 25)
- Desire to support someone who is on social assistance, or unable to manage their own finances
- Shares of a private corporation (incorporated business)
- Assets outside Ontario
- Cottages or family business or other assets with strong ’emotional’ value that you want retained in the family
- Complex or large tax issues
- Property outside Ontario
- Your spouse is unable to handle finances
- There is no suitable executor in your family
- etc. etc. ….
If your situation is remotely complex, you should consult an experienced lawyer. For complex situations most online wills and wills prepared by inexperienced or rushed lawyers can cause immense harm and cost to the estate and beneficiaries.
Our recommendations for basic, simple wills are found here: Basic, Simple Wills.
Learn more about the costs of the various options here: