Bennet Waugh Corne Lawyers - Lawyer - Family Law - Real Estate Law - Law Firm - Winnipeg - Manitoba

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Planning ahead –Preparing a Will during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

Planning ahead – Powers of Attorney, Wills and Health Care Directives and their use during the COVID-19 pandemic and in general

Please see our earlier article to learn more about Powers of Attorney.

Part 2 – Wills

What is a will?

A Will is a written document that controls how your estate (your assets and your debts) is dealt with after your death.


Why is it important to have a Will?

A Will provides your family members with clarity and certainty about your personal wishes and financial matters.   

A Will sets out the name of the person or persons you want to be in charge of carrying out your wishes (your executor). This person will be in charge of such things as distributing what you own, closing accounts, paying your debts and filing your last tax return.  If you pass away without a valid Will, someone may have to apply to the court to be approved as the person to be in charge of your estate. This may add an additional burden to your family. There may be delay and additional costs to proceeding this way.

A Will can set out gifts to different family members, friends, and charitable entities.  It can leave gifts of money, or specific items, such as heirlooms.


What happens to my estate if I do not have a Will?

Should you die intestate (without a Will) your estate would be distributed pursuant to The Intestate Succession Act.  Your estate would pass to your next-of-kin, pursuant to the Act.  You would be unable to leave specific gifts to charitable entities, friends, or other family members. It is also unlikely that you would be able to direct treasured heirlooms to the individual of your choice.


Why is a Will important if I have children?

A Will provides you with the ability to create a trust for your children.  The Will would make clear when you want items or money to be given to your children, and possibly for what reasons money is to be withdrawn for your children.  The items or money would stay protected under the trust in the meantime.  In a Will, you would also have the ability to make clear at what age you wish your minor children to receive the items or funds under the Will, with an option to have the funds disbursed over time rather than all at once upon reaching a certain age.

You may also “appoint” a substitute guardian for minor children in your will. While the final determination of guardianship of a child is up to the court, appointing a guardian in your Will provides insight into your wishes, which will be considered by the court in deciding what is best for your children.


What information do I need to prepare a Will?

A good starting point is to begin preparing a list of all your assets and debts which will belong to your estate at the time of your death.  This includes any bank accounts, insurance policies and pensions. You should include jointly held assets in this list. You should also think about who you want to receive your estate, and if there are any special gifts (of money or of special items) that you would like to make. We recommend that you think about an appropriate person to act as your executor and have an alternate individual(s) in mind, as a backup executor. 

To assist, our office has prepared a general information sheet which we will ask you to fill out. Please email one of the lawyers at the end of the article to provide you with our general information sheet.  This is the first step in preparing your Will.


How can I prepare a Will in the current COVID-19 situation?

Contact Bennet Waugh Corne to find out what steps are being taken to have these important documents created, and signed following the health recommendations in place for the protection of your health, our staff, and the community.

Lawyers who can help you with a Power of Attorney and Will are: (click on name for details about lawyer)

Shasta Benaim    contact by email at [email protected]  

Renée Nichols     contact by email at [email protected]

Grenville Waughcontact by email at [email protected]

or to his assistant [email protected]


Posted by Alison Bennet at 5:42 PM


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The articles on our website are for general information purposes only, and are not intended to be complete or exhaustive descriptions of the law. The articles and comments should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The articles are current only as at the date they are posted on the website, and the law is subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion on your own unique fact situation, we would be pleased to offer you our assistance and we invite you to contact us.