• Make sure only one will exists.
• Determine who you want as your executor—the person who will carry out your wishes in settling your estate.
• Carefully plan for your dependents.
• Name a guardian for young children.
• Detail specific monies or gifts to friends, relatives or charities.
• Consider what people or organizations mean a lot to you for the residues of your estate. One’s church, a favourite charity, or a favourite organization like Amnesty International, are often on that list.
• Put in writing the details of your funeral arrangements.
With those basics done, you may also want to consider other aspects of this task.
A will, for example, is more than a simple outline of the final distribution of your property and effects. It is an occasion to plan for the financial support of people and projects that you have actively supported during your lifetime. It can also be the time to finally help those people and groups that you always intended to support but didn’t have the resources to do so.
While everyone involved in estate planning agrees with the need to make a will, remember that it is, in fact, your will. Consider your own wishes and feelings. A will is an important document, but if it does not express your wishes, it is not done well.
Talk it over. Consider the future. Make a draft. Think again. Your will is probably one of the most important, and personal, documents you will ever prepare.
Laws about will-making and taxes vary from province to province and the specific wording to ensure that your wishes are carried out may require the help of a lawyer. Experts strongly recommend that you seek legal advice when making out your will.
A free information package on wills is available from Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Suite 250, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H9. – NewsCanada