Do I need a will?

Your will gives you control over your estate after you die.

Your will gives instructions about what to do with your estate (such as money or property) after your death.

You can make sure that certain people get certain parts of your estate. This is important for valuable and sentimental property.

If you do not have a will, it is possible that:

  • The provincial government will get involved because no one has a legal right to your estate.
  • You cannot leave your estate to the people you want.
  • Your relatives will have more costs to settle your affairs.
  • You cannot choose the guardian who will take care of your dependents who are under the age of 18, if you have any.

If you do not have a will when you die, your estate will be distributed according to the Succession Law Reform Act. That does not automatically mean that the government gets all of your estate. But, it could happen, depending on your situation.

Make Sure Your Will is Current

Review your will regularly to make any necessary changes. For example, you may want to make some changes if you have children, get married or get divorced.

For More Information

  • Preparing a Will - This checklist offers issues to keep in mind when preparing or updating your will. From the Canadian Bar Association.
  • Wills, Estates and Trusts - Answers to frequently-asked-questions about these topics from the Government of Ontario.
  • Power of Attorney - Information about Power of Attorney from the Government of Ontario. Power of Attorney gives someone else the right to act on your behalf, if you are unable to do so.
  • Planning Your Estate - Tips and information about wills, taxes, insurance policies and estate planning. From the Ontario Securities Commission.
  • Wills Assistance Service - This service is offered by Pro Bono Law Ontario at its Law Help Ontario centres in Ottawa and Toronto.
Last updated: October 26, 2015 4000501