The sad and inevitable truth is that people will all eventually perish. Unfortunately, without a will, the government decides who gets your assets and who will raise your children. It can be done through the terms of a will or intestacy.
Under Canadian law, you have the right to make a will, even if you aren’t married or have dependents. But what if you are only a newcomer in Canada? How should you begin?
Let’s first define the terms to understand them better.
What Is a Will?
Different countries have different laws regarding wills and other estate plans. As a newcomer to Canada and a citizen of a foreign country, you must understand the Canadian law regarding wills.
A will is a document that gives instructions on what to do with your assets after death. The document is usually in writing and signed. But, a will that’s not signed in the presence of witnesses is not valid in Canada. You can have your will land in a probate court if the court finds that it is not valid.
If the court rules your will invalid, the assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.
What Is Intestate?
Intestate laws decide who gets your assets and also who will raise your children when you die without a will. Typically, this means your properties will go in major part to your spouse, then your children and their descendants. You will have no control over the distribution of assets without a will, as your province’s laws will govern it.
Why Should You Have a Will?
Having a will is a wise decision, especially if you have children. Your children will get to decide on the distribution of their inheritance. And as a legal document, your will ensures that your children will be taken care of in the future.
If you are living in Canada or have Canadian assets or possessions, a will is important because this is the only way to decide how your children should be raised and what should be done with your home and other assets.
Without a will, the intestacy laws will determine your family members’ fate. In your will, you can state that your parents raise your children, your siblings or another family member, a family friend, or even several people. You can also declare how your property should be distributed.
Should You Still Make a Will in Canada?
Even if you already have a will in your country of origin, it would still be best to have a will declared in Canada. This way, your will can be accepted by Canadian laws.
What Is the Procedure For Making a Will?
You can prepare a will yourself, but you may want to consult with a lawyer to ensure your wishes are properly written.
- Name a Guardian: If you have minor children, you need to name a guardian who will have responsibility for them after your death.
- Give Away Your Property: You should state the distribution of your property.
- Name an Executor: An executor is a person responsible for carrying out your will.
- Make Sure Your Named Representatives Are Signatories: Your named representatives should be people you trust and must be signatories.
- Name Your Beneficiaries: Your beneficiaries are the individuals or institutions your property will go to after your death.
A will is essential, especially if you have family members. If you live in Canada, you must understand the Canadian laws regarding wills. All Canadian citizens must have a will to ensure that their wishes are followed, and their family is taken care of. You may have left your home country, but you are now living in Canada. Having a will in Canada is the best way to set your family up for the future and ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Need help in creating your last will and testament in Ottawa? Ontario Wills and Estate Planning offers wills and estate legal services. Our lawyers can help you structure your will and estate plan to your benefit. Contact us today for more information.