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.

Living Will or Power of Attorney

A living will or power of attorney is also a legal document that can accompany a will. In this document, you would designate a trusted person to act on your behalf while you are still alive. If you become ill or suffer a form of accident that leaves you mentally incapacitated, it is important to have a trusted person who will make decisions for you in good faith regarding your medical attention and regarding your assets.  

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.
Last updated: September 29, 2022 4000501