Your Most Personal Document

by : News Canada

(NC) - It is a good idea for everyone to have Will - no matter how rich or poor they are - and it should cover at least seven key points to avoid difficulties in the future.

These are the seven essentials:

  1. Make sure only one Will exists.
  2. Determine who you want as your executor
  3. Carefully plan for your dependents.
  4. Name a guardian for young children.
  5. Detail specific monies or gifts to relatives, friends or charities.
  6. Consider what people-or organizations such as a health charity or Greenpeace, should receive the residue of your estate.
  7. Put in writing the details of your funeral arrangements.

After you have taken care of these basic issues, you may want to consider a few other areas.

A Will is more than a simple outline of the final distribution of property and effects. It is an occasion to carry out your plans for the financial support of people and projects that you have actively supported during your lifetime, such as a health charity or Greenpeace.

It can also be the time to finally help those people and groups that you always intended to support but didn't have the resources to do so.

There are four important points to help you make a better Will.

Update your will

If your financial circumstances have changed significantly as a result of purchases, investments, inheritances, inflationary increases, business growth, etc., you should reflect these changes in your Will.

How often you do this will depend on the wording of your original Will and how significant the changes in your circumstances are.

Certainly, anything that is not specifically detailed in your existing Will should be noted now.

Changing lifestyles and interests

If you have not examined your Will in a number of years, you may want to consider whether it adequately covers your current lifestyle, attitudes and interests.

People realize that if they have retired, or have changed occupations, or even if their family situation has changed, they may want to reconsider the terms of their Wills.

Many people who could not financially support groups or causes to the extent they may wish during their lifetime, use the opportunity of their Will to leave a legacy for future generations.

Think it over: it's your will

While everyone involved in estate planning agrees with the urgent need to make a Will, remember that it is, in fact, your Will. Consider your own wishes and feelings.

Simply put-a Will is an important document, but if it does not express your wishes, it is not done well.

Talk it over. Consider the future. Make a draft. Think again. Your Will is probably one of the most important, and personal, documents you will ever prepare.

Consult a lawyer

Experts strongly recommend that you seek the advice of a lawyer when making out your Will.


Laws about Will-making and taxes can vary from province to province and the specific wording needed to ensure that your wishes are carried out may require the help of a lawyer.

For a free copy of the booklet on 'Questions & Answers About Wills', please write Greenpeace, 1726 Commercial Drive, Suite 200, Vancouver, B.C. V5N 4A3.