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Estates & Wills & Trusts

Don’t break this New Year’s resolution: write a will

By Lisa Laredo

With the holidays done and gone, it’s now that time of year — the time to buckle down and get on with fulfilling those New Year’s resolutions. You know the ones where we all resolve to go to the gym every day, lose 10 pounds and maybe even call our mothers more than once a week.

And here’s one more resolution that at least half of Canadians need to put at the top of that list — to write a will. Most New Year’s resolutions may be long forgotten by the end of the month, but don’t drop this one off the list until it’s fully checked off.

Here are five reasons why.

1. Someone needs to take care of the kids: If you have dependent children, someone will have to raise them. A handshake isn’t good enough; if it’s not in a will, a court may decide where your kids go without your input.

2. Even the good die young: Even young, single people have some assets that need to be passed on if they pass on.

3. Because it can be changed: While a will is your final wishes, as long as you’re alive and have the mental capacity, it is not set in stone. There’s no need to wait until bigger and better life events happen, write one now and change it later.

4. Keep the government out: Without a will, provincial intestacy laws take over and distribute your assets and estate on your behalf. Do you really want an estranged relative receiving an inheritance from you?

5. Less family drama: Without a will, your family may argue over who gets what.

All of this is to say that writing a will is the one resolution you shouldn’t break because it is the most important one you should make.

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