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What Happens If I Have Not Made a Will? Forfeitures

An Estate Executor Forfits Their Duties in Newmarket

Nobody likes to think about their own mortality, but failing to make a Will can cause significant problems and expenses for your estate and loved ones if you were to pass away suddenly or unexpectedly. Leaving no Will can cause uncertainty and place your loved ones in a difficult financial and emotional situation. Leaving no Will can also add delays to processing your estate and prolong the process for whoever is chosen to be the executor. Yet, according to a latest survey by the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Co. (LawPRO), the majority of Canadians (56 percent) have not made a Will. Major considerations about failing to make a Will are outlined below.

You Forfeit the Ability to Make Gifts and Distribute Your Property

If you have died “intestate,” you have left no instructions about how your estate is to be divided and have no choice about its distribution. This could leave your relatives feeling that you didn’t care enough about them even if that was not the case. Or, if you have no relatives, you may have preferred to bequeath money or assets to friends, charities, alumni associations or political parties instead of having the funds escheat to the Ontario government.

You Forfeit the Ability to Choose an Estate Trustee

If you have died “intestate,” you have left no instructions about who is to distribute your property. The estate trustee that is appointed by the court may not have been your first choice or could be a person whom you may not have wanted for the role.

Risks of errors increase if the estate trustee is inexperienced with estate administration, including asset preservation, the provision of insurance, applying for the Certificate of Estate Trustee Without a Will, payment of debts and filing taxes. Not just anyone can arrange guardianship for minor children and or mentally incompetent individuals or handle and distribute money for heirs. These roles often benefit from a familiarity with the beneficiaries and the assets associated with the estate.

You Forfeit the Ability to Choose a Guardian for Your Minor Children

If you fail to have a Will and have minor children when you pass away, you forfeit the right to choose a temporary guardian for your children. This is problematic if there is someone in particular you would have preferred to care for your children and/or someone you do not want raising your children. By not leaving a Will you are leaving the decision up to the courts or an Estate Trustee named by the court.

Contact Us at Epstein & Associates, Experienced Wills & Estate Lawyers

At Epstein & Associates, our lawyers will meet with you, listen to your needs and help you to prepare a Will that meets your objectives. A Will only takes effect upon your demise and it can be updated anytime thereafter until you no longer have the capacity to make or change it. Contact our Wills and Estates lawyers in Richmond Hill, Aurora, Barrie, Toronto and Newmarket to prepare your Will at 416-777-2210.