Few things are as imminent as death; you ought to prepare for it. In particular, most people don’t like to prepare for their death, let alone discuss about it. This poses a serious problem – their very inheritance may be at risk if they die without a will.
Having an estate plan can help you to navigate through all the properties belonging to the individual and making a justified allocation of property to people close to you. The Alberta estate planning mainly involves three documents – a will, a professional real estate attorney and a personal directive.
The will is, probably, the most important document of all. It clearly states how your belongings will be distributed and who’ll be the one getting those. That’s why it’s crucial that you have a will beforehand.
Expert wills and estate planning attorneys can help you with the total process of making your will. However, if you don’t want to spend money on attorneys and other procedures, you can surely choose to write a will on your own. Nonetheless, writing your own will is not recommended. Why so?
Why You Should Not Write A Will On Your Own
You might find it alluring to write your own will and save legal fees; that isn’t ideal. It doesn’t matter how impeccable will you prepare; there are high chances that you might miss a law or two that wastes the whole effort.
Online estate planning software may seem the best option, but this isn’t recommended at all. This is because estate planning is not something ‘one-size fits all.’ These are prepared for the general laws. This means that what worked for your aunt will not work for you, or vice versa.
Moreover, there are so many laws that can affect your will and testament. Unlike federal laws, each province in Canada has its own laws that you must consider. In such cases, a real estate attorney can help you go through each law and ensure all of the laws are appropriately addressed.
Do you still want to write your own will?
Let’s go through the steps on how to write a will with proper estate planning.
How To Write A Will
Before you start writing your own will and estate planning, it’s very important you’re well aware of the wills and estate Calgary laws. Once you’ve got a clear idea of the real estate laws, you can then go on with the rest of the steps.
Step 1: Writing An Introduction
At first, you must start by writing an introduction for your will and testament. Clearly label the document as ‘Last Will and Testament.’ If you’re writing it with your own hand, make sure you write this on top of the page with big & bold letters.
Secondly, write down your full name, address, and testify that you’re over 18. Also, make sure to add that you’re of sound mind and under no ones influence during the writing of the will.
Finally, mention that this is your last will and testament and that it revokes any other wills or codicils you’ve made earlier. You should also write down your social security number, birthdate, and any other information that helps.
Step 2: Selecting An Executor
An executor is a person whom you entrust to carry out the instructions written in your will. The person will have the responsibility of arranging your funeral and gather and secure all your assets. Afterward, he/she must distribute the assets according to your will. Most people choose their spouse as executor while some people choose their best friend.
Anyone whom you choose as your executor must be trustworthy, good with paperwork, and have excellent interpersonal skills. It’s recommended that you talk to the person and offer the role. If they agree, you can name them as your executor.
Also, you must choose an alternate executor in case your previous executor fails to perform the duties bestowed upon him.
Step 3: Naming Your Heirs
Once you’re done choosing your executor, you must name your heirs. Commonly, most people choose their spouses and children as the primary beneficiaries. However, you may have other plans. Make sure that you clearly identify each heir and your relations to the person, along with the proportion that they’ll receive and if they are entitled to any provisions.
Step 4: Naming A Guardian (If Required)
If your heir is a minor or dependent on another, you must name a guardian for them in your will. This might arise if they’re below 18 or have no other natural parents to take care of them. In such a case, you must choose a guardian who’ll take care of them until they reach the age of majority. Discuss this with the guardians and make sure there are no stones unturned.
Step 5: Division of Property
Once you’ve named your executor, your heirs and guardians, you can then start assessing and dividing your property. At first, list all your assets, including your properties, bank accounts, savings, retirement funds, stocks, bonds, and all other tangible assets and then start dividing those between your heirs. You can divide those on a percentage basis or assign each asset to each heir.
Step 6: Signing The Will
After dividing the property among your heirs, you must sign the will. If you’ve used an online tool to generate the will, you should print it out and then sign it using a pen. Most provinces require that your signature should be notarized. This means that you must sign the document in the presence of a public notary and stamp it with the notary’s seal.
Step 7: Witnesses
You’re almost done. After notarizing your signature, ask two witnesses to sign on your will Without witnesses, your will won’t be accepted as the legal document. One thing to remember, your beneficiaries can’t be chosen as your witnesses. Do a bit of research and find out the people who can add the most value to your will. Also, be sure to know how many witnesses you require. Most provinces require 2 witnesses; however, some might require three. A single mistake can invalidate your will entirely.
The Bottom Line
For people who want to save money and want a will, writing a will can be an excellent way to cut through costs and have a prepared will. To write a will, you should maintain a 7-step procedure where you write an introduction, choose an executor, name your heirs and guardians. Next, you can divide your assets between your heirs and sign the will in the presence of a notary public. Also, you would need two or three witnesses who’d sign on the document to validate it.
Writing a will by yourself can seem to have cut costs for you; but, in most cases, it is the same thing as hiring an attorney.
It’s because a single mistake or exclusion of federal or provincial law might invalidate your whole last will and testament. This means that you ought to do it all over again; it surely costs a lot of time, money, and tons of effort.
Experienced real estate planning attorneys, on the other hand, are well aware of all the things that you’d need for your last will and testament. They’ll ask for specific documents and will prepare your will for you. You can always rely on their knowledge and expertise to implement all of the laws and prepare a legal will that’ll be executed if you’re not here in the unforeseen future.
If you’re still confused if you need a real estate lawyer or not, check out our blog on why you need a real estate lawyer and how they can help.