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Benefits Of Having A Will: Why Writing A Will Is Worthwhile

Benefits of Having a Will: Why writing a Will is Worthwhile

Will-writing, estate planning, estate administration, probate, trust funds, inheritances – the list of things for will-writers to consider goes on and on. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of having an updated and valid will and reasons to start your estate plan sooner rather than later.

Before going into the benefits, let’s first look at what happens when someone dies without writing a will. When someone dies without a valid will it is dying intestate. When this happens, the courts have a specific course of action that they take to distribute your estate. An estate administrator is appointed to act as the estate executor. Generally speaking, a person’s spouse and children inherit the entirety of the intestate estate. If the testator doesn’t have a spouse or children, their parents or surviving relatives receive inheritance from the estate.

Some people might argue that since they only want to leave their estate to their spouse and children, there is no point in preparing a will. To answer this, let’s look into some of the advantages and benefits of writing a will, even if the process of intestate succession is similar to your own intentions.

You Call the Shots

Writing a will offers the most obvious benefit: you decide exactly how to distribute your estate. When someone dies intestate they have absolutely no say in what happens to their estate. By writing a will, you can choose who receives what from your estate. Will-writers are able to get creative with their assets; some will-writers will choose to create trusts for their beneficiaries, who must meet certain conditions like graduating university to access their inheritance. In intestacy, there is a set formula that determines how much of the estate the spouse and children each receive. The deceased doesn’t have any say in this and is unable to make specific provisions for different people.

Every estate has an executor or administrator, or executor. They are responsible for paying estate debts and taxes, handling estate assets, and distributing the estate to beneficiaries. You’ll want to appoint someone you trust for this role, and make sure they are aware of what it entails. By preparing a will, you’re able to decide who the estate executor is. When you die intestate, anyone is able to apply to be the administrator of your estate. The courts have the final say in who is given the position.

Another decision you get to make with a will is who your children’s guardian will be. If both parents pass away while their children are still minors, someone must become their guardian. You can appoint a relative or friend who you believe would be the best fit for your children in your will. You are also able to use your will to put aside parts of their inheritance for a specific purpose, like tuition or money to put towards a house in the future.

Probate isn’t Exclusive to Will-Writers

Courts must validate most wills through probate. During this process, you must pay a probate fee of approximately 1.4% of the entire estate’s value. You can’t avoid probate fees by not writing a will – the estate administrator must still complete the probate process. Often, estates with prepared wills are granted probate faster than intestate estates. Preparing a will ensures that loved ones receive their inheritances much sooner and with less stress.

The Estate Saves Money

There are a number of advantages to gift giving before death – both financial and sentimental.

By creating an estate plan, there are ways to minimize probate fees and defer tax payments to ultimately increase the value of your estate inheritance for loved ones. For example, a common estate planning tool is gift giving before death. You can minimize the probate fees payable upon your death by lowering your estate’s value. In the end, the same people receive their inheritances; however, there’s more of the inheritance for them to enjoy, and you can watch them enjoy the gift in your lifetime.

A Will Can Make Your Estate Plan More Flexible

By writing a will, you have the flexibility to distribute your estate exactly as you’d like. Using trust accounts in your estate plan is one way to ensure your gift is given exactly as you wish. Maybe you want to give funds to a child in increments rather than a lump sum. Or, you want your spouse to continue living in your home, but have it given to a child after both you and your spouse pass away.

Keep in mind that you can revoke or amend wills at any time, as they are not final documents. After your first will is written, it’s easy and important to keep it updated. Writing a will doesn’t lock you into what you’ve written, so long as you have the capacity to make changes later in life. For more on this, read our blog on testamentary capacity in estate planning.

You Can Prevent Conflict and Stress

By creating your own estate plan, you are able to speak directly with loved ones and ensure that they know what to expect upon your death. Loved ones are often disappointed or offended if they’re left out of the will without knowing why beforehand, and this can unfortunately lead to legal conflict within the family. Simply explaining your intentions can help to alleviate a lot of tension. Further, if you die intestate, it can be stressful for your loved ones as they’re left uncertain with what will happen to the estate. Family members might argue over who they believe should be the estate administrator as they are unsure of your final wishes.

Often, people are concerned that they’re too young to prepare their will. While there isn’t an age that is the “perfect” time, we have a blog that outlines when a good time to prepare your first will might be.

At a minimum, having a will in your name can provide certainty for your loved ones in the difficult circumstances of a death in their family. Preparing a detailed estate plan may cost you money initially, but it can save your estate thousands of dollars and countless hours for loved ones dealing with an intestate estate. If you need help preparing your first will, contact an experienced estate lawyer today. We can help you create an estate plan perfect for your individual circumstances.

Have a question about this topic or a different legal topic? Contact us for a free consultation. Reach us via phone at 250-888-0002, or via email at

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