How will your loved ones be cared for after you’re gone?
Do the people closest to you know your end-of-life care plan?
Are your family and friends aware of the causes that are important to you?
These types of questions can be difficult to consider. But, they need to be taken into account so you can be confident your end-of-life wishes will be respected.
These were some of the questions addressed at the first presentation of this year’s Will Week, which attracted a large crowd to the Charleswood Senior Centre on Monday.
“Passing away without a will leaves a vacuum for your family and friends,” said Winnipeg lawyer Leilani Kagan.
“Because there are no instructions as to what you want to have happen with your estate, someone must come forward to act as your administrator and guess as to what you would have liked.”
Even once an administrator is found, she said, they wield very limited power as to how to carry out your wishes.
“Unfortunately because of the laws in our province, that person has no discretion over how to administer your estate. The laws here dictate how your property will be administered,” said Kagan. “That person is really there to act as a signer on documents. They have no say in where those assets are going.”
This is one of the most important reasons for having a will.
For instance, your property will only be passed to your surviving spouse and children through our province’s laws. If you have a grandchild who has lost a parent, that grandchild could be left out of your estate.
There are also no options to continue your charitable support for causes you donate to during your life.
Many people were interested to learn that any provisions in your will could also be carried out at any time, even before one’s death. This means you’ll be able to see and experience the impact your end-of-life donation can make for a charity or organization prior to your death.
The audience had several questions, and Kagan addressed everyone’s concerns, both during the presentation as well as afterwards, when she took the time to meet with people individually.
“I didn’t really know very much about wills before I came,” said Jenna Johannsen. “But after the passing of my co-worker, I wanted to learn more. And it was really great to hear what Leilani had to say,” she added.
“This is the best session I’ve ever attended on this particular topic,” said Anne Hrychuck.
Will Week is an annual series of free public information sessions on the importance of Wills and Estate planning.
The sessions are administered by professionals on a volunteer basis, as a public service and are for informational purposes only.
If you’d like to attend a free informational session as part of Will Week, please visit winnipegwill.com