The welfare of one’s child is the highest priority in any parent’s mind. Part of providing the best care for a child means making provisions for their happiness in any possible scenario—including one without you in it. If you don’t have a will, you don’t get any say in who looks after your children. In the absence of any appropriate relative, that could even be the state.
How do you think the down-on-his-luck protagonist in the feel-good movie gets his millions from his long-lost second cousin? Unless she was a little kooky, the answer is: she didn’t have a will.
While our closest relative is often exactly who we want our estate to go to, when you don’t have a will, the matter can be more complicated than you might realize. For example, under British Columbia law, your common law partner is automatically given part of your estate, while your aged father—for whom you might pay medical or shelter expenses—is not. A wills, estates, and trusts lawyer will help you draft a will that takes care of all of your family members.
The law can be slow to react to change, and in 2016, there are more “unconventional” family structures than the lawmakers of yesteryear could ever have imagined. If you, like millions of Canadians, have a family that doesn’t fit into a neat tidy box, a lack of a will leaves them at risk. For example, if you are parent to any children you haven’t legally adopted, those children could be left out entirely.
If you own a small business and don’t have a will, you could be setting up both your business partners and family for serious turmoil. With the help of a wills, estates, and trusts lawyer, you can determine what happens to your stake in your company, including whether your shares go to your family or whether the company will purchase them back.