The Ontario Bar Association has declared November “Make a Will Month”. Partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association of Ontario, the OBA wants to “help Ontarians preserve their wishes and safeguard their loved ones by making a will.” According to a recent survey by LawPro, fewer than half of Canadians have a valid Will.
Even though November is drawing to a (cold, snowy and windy) end, the OBA’s basic advice stands: if you don’t have a Will, or if you have a Will that has not been updated in some time, your wishes may not be protected upon your death.
As Jennifer Corak discussed in her latest blog post, estate planning decisions can be difficult to make and many people would simply rather avoid the potentially uncomfortable conversations altogether. However, the alternative may be worse. If die without a Will, or if your Will has not been updated to reflect beneficiaries who have predeceased you, your assets will be passed according to the intestacy scheme set out in the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act. The best way to protect your wishes is with a properly executed written Will.
Make a Will Month also serves as a reminder to those who have a valid Will that has not been updated in some time. Wills should be updated following major life events such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of someone named in the Will, or a major change in your assets or liabilities. Regular updates will again ensure that your wishes are protected upon your death, and can reduce the likelihood of disputes over your estate.