– by Karlie Stewin, Gilmour Braul Hiebert Law Office

While some may shy away from thinking about Wills or Estate Planning, deciding how you want your estate dealt with after your eventual passing doesn’t need to be a painful or depressing experience. Rather than focusing on the somber side of the subject, try thinking of estate planning as a way to make sure your wishes are heard from beyond the grave and an opportunity to give back to your friends, loved ones, or organizations you support. 

There are many different terms you can include in a will and you should consider consulting a lawyer about your specific wishes to see how they can best be accomplished through a will or other estate planning mechanisms. A few of the advantages of having a will are as follows:

  • Peace of Mind!
      • Instead of having to worry about how your estate will end up divided or whether your family and friends will get into arguments over your estate after you’re gone, you can set the terms of how things will go and not worry about whether the people and/or goals that you care about will be looked after. 
  • You can name the person or people you want to have decision making power over your estate.
      • Rather than having the Courts dictate who will act as the administrator of your estate, you can appoint the person you trust to make decisions consistent with your wishes. 
      • This could be a friend, relative, spouse, or child, depending on who you trust with making your wishes a reality.
  • You can give specific gifts to particular people or organizations.
      • If there are specific pieces of property that you want to give to particular people or organizations, you can include this in your will as well. Otherwise, it will be up to the administrator of your estate to determine how your property gets divided. 
      • Otherwise, if you pass away without a will, your estate will be divided based on a list of rules created by the government through legislation, called The Intestate Success Act (Manitoba).
      • If there are specific individuals you would like to support or specific individuals you would like to exclude from receiving a share of your will, the best way to accomplish either goal would be to create a will.
  • You can express your wishes for your children.
      • If you have children, you can use your will to make your wishes regarding guardianship of the children known. While this is not always determinative of a future guardianship application, it is one way to make sure your wishes are known even after your passing. 
  • You can make charitable donations.
    • If you would like to leave a gift to a charity or organization you supported during your lifetime, you can also include this in your will. These gifts can either be a set amount to come out of your estate or a percentage of the total value in your estate at the time of your passing. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding estate planning or creating a will, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office to discuss your questions.

Last modified: October 7, 2023