6 Advantages of Possessing a Valid Will in Nova Scotia

A man is signing a Will, text over the image reads

What is a Will?

A will is a legally binding document that articulates your desires regarding the distribution of your property and assets after your death. It also designates the individual or individuals responsible for executing your wishes, commonly referred to as the executor or executors. Maintaining a valid and current Will is crucial to guaranteeing that your estate is managed in accordance with your choices and to shield your loved ones from unwarranted tension and disputes.

What Constitutes the Validity of a Will?

In Nova Scotia, certain criteria must be met to create a legally valid Will. These criteria encompass:

  1. Age Requirement: You must be at least 19 years old, unless you are married or a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
  2. Mental Capacity: You must be of sound mind and able to comprehend the implications and nature of your decisions.
  3. Witness Requirements: You must sign the Will while in the presence of two witnesses who are neither beneficiaries nor spouses of beneficiaries listed in your Will.
  4. Witness Verification: The witnesses must also sign the Will in your presence and in the presence of each other.

Failing to meet these criteria could lead to the court deeming your Will as invalid, resulting in the distribution of your estate in accordance with the rules of intestacy. This may not align with your desires or adequately address your family’s requirements.

What are the Advantages of Having a Will in Nova Scotia?

There are numerous advantages to having a legally valid Will in Nova Scotia, with six of the primary ones being:

1. Property and Asset Distribution:

You can decide who will inherit your property and assets, as well as in what proportions. This is especially critical in common-law relationships, where intestacy rules may not recognize your partner as a family member, potentially excluding them from inheritance.

2.Guardian Appointment:

You can appoint a guardian for your minor children and provide for their care and education. It’s important to note that the court can override guardian appointments in Canada if they find the designated guardian unsuitable or unwilling to act, or if it’s not in the child’s best interests. The court considers factors such as the child’s preferences, the relationship between the child and the guardian, the guardian’s caregiving abilities, and other relevant circumstances. Therefore, discussing the appointment with the chosen guardian in advance is advisable to ensure a suitable alternative if needed.

3. Trust Creation:

You can establish trusts for beneficiaries who are minors, disabled, or have special needs. When minors inherit money or property, they cannot manage it until they reach the age of majority. Trusts safeguard inheritances from creditors, legal actions, or reckless spending, offering tax advantages and adaptability for the beneficiary’s future needs.

4. Charitable Donations and Gifts:

You can make charitable donations or bequeath gifts to friends or organizations that hold significance for you. This not only supports causes you care about but also offers tax benefits, as charitable donations in Wills generate tax credits in Canada that can reduce the estate’s or beneficiaries’ tax liabilities.

5. Tax and Fee Reduction:

You can minimize taxes and fees, such as probate taxes, which may be payable by your estate or beneficiaries. These taxes can significantly affect your estate’s value, and professional guidance from accountants and lawyers can help in strategies to reduce probate costs.

6. Dispute Prevention:

You can prevent or minimize potential disputes among your heirs and creditors. By clearly specifying your estate distribution in your Will, you reduce conflicts among heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. A Will also helps avoid legal challenges and conflicts arising from intestacy laws or unclear inheritance claims, ultimately sparing your loved ones unnecessary expenses, delays, and stress during a challenging period.

Is It Necessary to Update Your Will?

If you’ve already created a Will, it’s crucial to regularly review and update it as circumstances change. Certain life events that may necessitate a revision include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • The passing of a spouse, beneficiary, executor, or guardian
  • Changes in residence or citizenship
  • Alterations in your financial situation or assets
  • Shifts in personal preferences or values

A Will ranks among the most vital documents for safeguarding both yourself and your loved ones. If you don’t have a Will or need to make updates to your current one, it’s advisable to seek the guidance of an estate planning lawyer. Such a professional can assist you in crafting a Will that aligns with your specific requirements and adheres to legal standards. Additionally, they can offer advice on other aspects of estate planning, such as powers of attorney, health care directives, and probate.

Having a Will is not only a prudent and responsible choice but also a meaningful gift to those who hold you dear. By creating a Will, you can ensure the preservation of your legacy and the respectful fulfillment of your final wishes.

Brookshire Law Office - Your Estate Planning Partner

Learn more about Brookshire’s Will and estate planning services. With our flat fee estate packages, you can have peace of mind knowing you have a legal Will, a living Will (also referred to as a personal directive), and a power of attorney for a package price of $725 plus HST and expenses or $1095 plus HST and expenses for couples. 

For those estates, near or more than half a million dollars, we offer advanced estate planning. High Value estate planning helps bring together the professionals, who with their combined knowledge, can help you protect your estate from unnecessary taxes.

Contact us today to book a consultation.

The above is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice — contact a lawyer to discuss your personal circumstances and learn your options.

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