Learn the secrets of writing a good will

Have you been procrastinating writing your will? You’re not alone. According to some estimates, more than half of Canadians don’t have one. It can seem like a daunting task, especially during a busy autumn season, but crafting a will is one of the most important financial decisions you can make.

Dying without a will could mean that your property won’t be distributed in accordance with your wishes, leaving family members left out. So, what are the secrets? There are a few key points to keep front of mind when deciding about your will:

1. Choose your executor carefully. The executor is the person who is responsible to carry out the directions of your will. It must be an adult you trust. It’s also a good idea to name an executor who is younger and is likely to outlive you.

2. Take care of your family first. Most of us plan to leave something to those closest to us. But if you don’t name them in your will and state how much you want them to receive, your estate might not automatically go to the right people.

3. Name guardians for your kids. If you have children and they are not yet adults, name the person who will be their guardian if you die.

4. Name the special causes you want to support. Think about the favourite causes you want to remember. It could be a health charity, a local animal shelter, or a human rights charity like Amnesty International.

5. Seek expert help. You might be tempted to write a will on your own, but that decision could end up costing your relatives more. Seeking expert advice is strongly recommended. Speak to a lawyer specializing in estates. Getting their guidance might not be as expensive as you imagined and will likely pay off in the long run.

Writing a will is a fairly straightforward process and your family may be thankful that you took the time. A general information package is available free from Amnesty International at amnesty.ca/legacy.



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