Legal Beagle: Managing Your Estate With A Will

When you die, your assets and debts become what we refer to in the legal profession as your “estate”. The purpose of a Will is to provide for the orderly distribution of your estate at your death. In New Brunswick, if you die without a Will, you do not have control over the distribution of your estate and so your assets may not be distributed in the way you want. For example, if you are in a common law relationship and want to leave something to your partner, your partner may not be entitled to receive any benefit from your estate. In addition, a Will allows you to leave specific items to people. For example, you may want to leave a wedding ring to a child or leave your pets to someone in particular.
Another benefit of having a Will is that it allows you to decide who you want to distribute your estate. Without a Will, the person who distributes your estate may be appointed by the Court. Depending on your situation, you may have in mind someone in particular who you would like to manage your affairs when you die.
If you currently have a Will, you will want to ensure that it is properly drafted so that it is effective. In addition, many people do not realize that, even if you have a Will, and afterwards marry, your previous Will is no longer valid.
If you’re considering getting a Will or have concerns with your Will, it’s a good idea to consult with your lawyer in order to discuss what you would like to happen with your estate when you die. During a consultation, adequate background information is essential. You will want to have with you your full financial picture as well as a good understanding of your estate planning goals and family dynamics. Ultimately, a Will allows you to have peace of mind about knowing what will happen to your estate when you die and knowing it is in good hands.