Most people can safely prepare their own wills without the cost of retaining a lawyer. However, there are some situations when it is recommended you do retain a lawyer. This article explains which situations will need a lawyer’s help.
You should consult a lawyer if you are:
- about to be married;
- separated or are in the process of getting divorced;
- the owner of a large, complex estate;
- very old or suffering from mental or physical disabilities;
- not of legal age;
- born or married under a community property system (Quebec and Washington State residents);
- involved in a common-law or same-sex relationship;
- the parent of a child or children born out of wedlock whom you are not supporting;
- residing in a province or country in which you are unsure of the regulations (different jurisdictions have different rules regarding the validity of wills);
- the owner of real estate outside your province or country of residence;
- disinheriting a child or spouse; and/or
- concerned or unsure about the particulars of your will.
So I need a lawyer. Do I need a book?
The answer to that depends on how well prepared you want to be. The lawyer you retain will do his or her best to help you understand your options and to understand the legal rules for wills. Just remember, the time your lawyer spends teaching you is time you will be charged for.
If you want to have a foundation of knowledge about estate planning, preparing a will, and preparing health-care directives, we suggest you read Write Your Legal Will in 3 Easy Steps, our most comprehensive book on the subject. It does not deal with the complex issues listed above; it does deal with the topics the average Canadian needs to know and it will help you understand what your lawyer is saying.
Why do I need a will?
It is important that you make a will for the following reasons:
- To ensure that your bequests (gifts) are passed on to the proper person(s)
- To avoid leaving your relatives with costly paperwork and lawsuits after your death
- To allow you to choose appropriate individuals as your child(ren)’s adoptive parents or guardians
- To prevent your estate from going to the provincial government
What books do you offer?
Write Your Legal Will in 3 Easy Steps is our most comprehensive book on estate planning, writing wills and preparing medical directives. It covers all provinces and territories except Quebec. The book contains blank, tear-out forms for preparing a simple will plus a CD-ROM with blank forms for simple and advanced wills.
For people looking for a quick, easy, basic guide, our Complete Canadian Wills Kit is an inexpensive choice which is based on a CD-ROM, covers all provinces and territories except Québec, and contains blank forms.
To see all the wills-related books and forms we offer, click here.