Top 8 Reasons Why You Need A Legal Will:
A Legal Will helps to ensure that your estate is distributed as you wish, that your children will have the care and resources they need, that your estate avoids probate taxes and that your death doesn’t create a legal and administrative burden to your family.
- Save on Probate Tax – If you don’t have a Will, most of your assets will likely require probate and therefore, create the imposition of unnecessary probate tax. Probate tax is approximately 1.5% of the value of your estate including your real property. If you had a Will, your family wouldn’t have to pay this probate tax. As well, if your family is unable to pay the probate taxes when they are required to pay it, they may be forced to sell the home to cover the tax bill. You would not want to lose your largest asset from being distributed to your children because you were left without a Will.
- Save on Legal Fees – A Will ensures your estate trustee is selected and has the authority to act on your behalf. If you die without a Will, your estate will be unable to transfer certain assets to your beneficiaries without having someone appointed as Estate Trustee to affect that transfer or distribution. The process of having a court appoint an Estate Trustee is called ‘Probate’ or officially an ‘Application for Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will’. The reason for Probate is to give a single person (your Trustee) the authority to act on behalf of the Estate, distribute your assets to your Beneficiaries, pay your debts, or sell your properties. The process of applying to court to be named an official Estate Trustee is costly and takes time. Legal fees can run in the range of $5,000 or more. This entire process is unnecessary if you have a Will.
- Save on Income Tax – If you don’t have a Will, you likely did not have an estate plan. In most cases, is possible to save thousands of dollars upon death by engaging the use of estate and tax planning techniques. If you die without a Will, many of the formidable tax planning opportunities are lost and cannot be recovered on death. This means you and your estate may pay higher income tax than you would have with a Will.
- Clear Distribution of Assets – Your Will clearly tells your surviving family members, friends and others how and when your wealth and personal property should be distributed. Without a valid Will, the government decides for you.
- Care of your Minor Children – In your Will you can name the person you want to serve as your minor children’s guardian should something happen to both you and your spouse. This person would be responsible for your children’s physical care, health care, education and general well-being until they reach the age of 18. If you don’t have a Will, a family member will have to petition the court for Guardianship. Ultimately, the decision of guardianship will be determined by the Court who may award guardianship to the State.
- Choose your Beneficiaries – a Will allows you to distribute your property amongst your children or next of kin in a way that addresses their financial needs. Otherwise the government decides for you.
7. Provide for your family – Through your Will, you can provide for elderly parents, disabled children or otherwise who presently depend on you for care.
8. Give to Charity – A Will ensures that favourite people, organizations, causes and even pets are beneficiaries of your estate if you wish.
The consequences of not having a Will are severe and unnecessary, leaving your family saddled with needless taxes and legal fees. A Will doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost of a lot of money. At Kalfa Law, we make the process seamless and easy with our automated Will intake questionnaire. Our questionnaire takes 15-20 minutes to complete and can be done from the comfort of your home. Next, our lawyers will discuss your estate plan with you, and we begin building your simple Will.
Let us help you get your estate in order with a Will for your and your family. Contact us today.
-Shira Kalfa, BA, JD, Partner and Founder
© Kalfa Law 2018
The above provides information of a general nature only. This does not constitute legal advice. All transactions or circumstances vary, and specified legal advice is required to meet your particular needs. If you have a legal question you should consult with a lawyer.