A Will is a written document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. Having a Will helps to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and that your assets are distributed by a person chosen by you.
If you pass away without a Will, the government of Ontario will determine how your property is to be distributed and who is to be responsible for doing so. More specifically, the Succession Law Reform Act outlines who is entitled to share your property if you pass away without a will and the Estates Administration Act helps determine who will manage this distribution. The end result may not be one that you would have chosen or wanted. For example, if you are in a common law relationship and you pass away, your common law partner may not be entitled to share in your property.
It is important you speak with a lawyer to ensure that your Will meets the legal formalities required in Ontario. A Will which does not meet these legal formalities is be deemed to be invalid and under the law it will be as if you never had a Will at all.
You should ensure you update your Will on a regular basis to reflect the changes in your personal or financial circumstances. For example, if you separate from your spouse and you do not update your Will, your former spouse may be entitled to receive property under your Will. Your Will is also no longer valid upon marriage and must be re-done.