When is a Good Time to Get a Will?

Many people overlook the importance of having a will, yet it stands as one of the most critical documents an individual can have. From dictating your wishes upon passing to ensuring your loved ones are well-provided for, creating a will is a significant step in adult life, but when should you start the process? Here, we’ll explore why and when it’s pivotal to secure your assets and plan your legacy through the eyes of estate planning. Delving into this simple yet profound act of preparation could save your family untold stress and ensure your intentions are carried out just the way you desire.

Understanding Wills and Estate Planning

At its core, a will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. It’s your way of maintaining some degree of control over what happens when you’re gone. Without a will, the distribution of your assets and care for your children will be left up to your province’s or territory’s laws. This means that your loved ones may not receive what you intended for them, and family members may have disputes about how things should be divided.

Importance of Will for Everyone

It’s all too easy to think that estate planning isn’t for us that it’s a concern for the distant future or the wealthy. However, the truth is more universal. Regardless of age or asset size, a will is a vehicle for expressing your wishes. Should anything happen to you, a will ensures that the people and causes you care about are cared for in the way you want, not by state intestacy laws.

Signs It’s Time to Get a Will

Recognizing when you might need a will isn’t always straightforward, especially when life is generally running smoothly. Nevertheless, certain milestones and situations should raise the flag that it’s time to draft a will or update an existing one.

Life Events That Prompt Will Creation

  • Marriage: Your familial obligations and the combined assets with your spouse make creating a comprehensive will necessary.
  • Birth of Children: Clearly outlining guardianship and financial legacies for your children should anything happen to you is a primary reason for young parents to create a will.
  • Significant Acquisitions: Homes, businesses, and other valuable assets complicate the estate and require specific attention.
  • Divorce: A change in family structure necessitates reevaluating and adjusting who inherits what.
  • Health Diagnosis: Serious illness generally prompts contemplation of mortality and the need to ensure affairs are in order.
  • Passing Time: Even if events are stable, the passage of time often brings substantial changes in financial and personal life, all of which should be reflected in an updated will.

The Importance of Periodically Updating a Will

An outdated will is as good as not having one at all. Regular reviews, ideally every few years, ensure your will reflects your current circumstances. Ignoring this could mean that assets end up with unintended beneficiaries or new family members or relationships aren’t accounted for.

The Benefits of Proactive Estate Planning

With a will at its core, estate planning offers more than just a roadmap for your assets. It’s a thoughtful gesture that benefits your heirs and protects your legacy from more than just the CRA.

Ensuring Assets are Distributed According to Wishes

By clearly stipulating who gets what, a will protects your assets from being distributed according to provincial law, which might allocate your estate differently than you’d prefer.

Minimizing Family Disputes and Potential Legal Complications

A poorly planned or disputed estate can lead to family disagreements, legal challenges, and asset depletion. A proper will can help mitigate this risk, ensuring your loved ones are cared for in harmony.

Advance Health Directives

While not strictly a part of a will, estate planning often includes health directives. These legal documents outline your medical treatment preferences if you’re unable to communicate and designate an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf. This way, you can ensure your wishes are respected even when you’re unable to express them.

Key Considerations in Creating a Will

Creating a will is a serious and, at times, complex task. You must address several key elements to ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes and can be legally upheld.

Choosing an Executor

Your executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. This important role requires someone who is trustworthy, organized, and capable of handling the financial and emotional aspects of estate settlement.

Listing Assets and Beneficiaries

The heart of a will is who gets what. It’s vital to make a thorough inventory of all of your assets, from your home and car to life insurance policies and sentimental items, and to assign beneficiaries to each.

Guardianship and Trusts, if Applicable

For parents, a will is your primary method for naming a guardian for your children. Additionally, it may be necessary to establish trusts to manage assets for young children or loved ones who can’t manage money independently. This ensures that your assets are used for their intended purpose.

Ensuring Adequate Witnesses and Signatures

To be legally valid, a will must be signed by two witnesses who can attest to your mental capacity when signing. Without proper signatures and witnesses, a will may be challenged in court.


Estate planning is an essential part of responsible adult life, and creating a will is a crucial element of that planning. It’s never too early to plan your will, and doing so ensures your loved ones are cared for according to your wishes should the unexpected happen. Lamprey Law has been helping individuals and families with will preparation for many years. No matter where you are in life, it’s never too early or too late to plan for the future and ensure your loved ones are taken care of. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you safeguard your legacy through proper estate planning.