When should I prepare a will?

When should I prepare a will?

When is the best time to prepare a will? A will is something everyone should consider preparing. Regardless of age or health status, it’s important to draft a will to clearly outline one’s wishes regarding property, children, family members, specific belongings, and more. Below are some considerations for when to prepare a will:

  • When becoming an adult: Upon reaching adulthood, individuals may start contemplating how to distribute their assets and provide for their family members. As responsibilities regarding property increase with adulthood, preparing a will becomes crucial.
  • Upon significant life changes: Events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or the death of a loved one may prompt a review of one’s will and potential updates to reflect changed circumstances.
  • When in good health: It’s essential to prepare a will while in good health. Illness or poor health may make it challenging to draft a will, so doing it while healthy allows for better preparation for unexpected situations.
  • When financial circumstances are stable: It’s advisable to draft a will when financial circumstances are stable. This allows for consideration of the current state of one’s assets and potential future fluctuations.
  • When owning a business or significant assets: For business owners or individuals with substantial assets, a will can provide clarity regarding the disposition of these assets or businesses.
  • When having children: If one has children, it’s crucial to consider their care, education, and inheritance in the will.

A will can be modified as needed throughout different stages of life. It’s essential to consider legal aspects and family situations comprehensively when drafting a will and to update it as circumstances change. While the process of drafting a will can be complex, seeking legal advice is advisable. However, the general process for creating a will typically involves the following steps:

  • Legal consultation and establishing intent: Consultation with a legal professional to clarify one’s intentions is the initial step. This includes decisions regarding asset distribution and family protection.
  • Drafting the will: The will is then drafted, either with the assistance of a legal professional or through a will-writing service. It should be clear and easy to understand, containing all necessary information and following legally valid formats.
  • Witnessing and signing: In Ontario, after drafting the will, it must be signed in the presence of witnesses. Witnesses are typically required to be over 18 years old, and both the testator and different witnesses must sign simultaneously.
  • Including medical directives and living wills: Wills may also include documents such as advance health care directives or living wills, which address medical decisions related to the testator’s health.
  • Backup copy storage: It’s essential to store the will in a secure location and provide backup copies to family members or the appointed attorney.
  • Regular updates: It’s crucial to regularly review and update the will to reflect life changes such as marriage, divorce, childbirth, death, or changes in asset holdings.

Preparing a will allows individuals to ensure that their wishes regarding their estate are clearly articulated and legally binding.