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What Should – and Shouldn’t – Go into a Will
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Even if you’re relatively young, it’s never too soon to draw up your Last Will and Testament. And it’s a good idea to explain what’s in your Will, and what isn’t, to your loved ones.
So, what should go in your Will? Here are some of the key elements:
Distribution of property – You can specify how you want your property distributed among your various beneficiaries.
Naming of executor – An executor will carry out the terms of your Will and administer your estate. Administering an estate can be complex, so choose someone you can trust to manage your financial matters competently and honestly.
Appointment of guardian – If you have children under 18, you should name a guardian to look after them if something happens; you don’t want the courts to decide your children’s destination.
What shouldn’t go in your Will? You can keep out those assets for which you’ve already designated a beneficiary. These might include your RRSP, RRIF, life insurance, annuities and property held in a trust.
Here’s one more important item to keep out of your Will: your funeral instructions. Typically the settling of an estate, which involves reading the Will, does not happen until after a funeral. So instead of leaving your funeral wishes in your Will, where no one will see them until it is too late, talk with your loved ones about what you want. You can even create a separate document spelling out your desired funeral arrangements, and then give it to the executor of your estate.
Become familiar with what’s in your Will, and what’s not, and share this information with your loved ones. The more they know today, the less frustration and misunderstanding they’ll experience when it’s time for your estate plan to be settled.