A valid Will is a necessity for any parent not just to ensure your estate is divided according to your wishes but also to ensure that the guardianship of your child or children is clearly defined. Within your Will, you can select the person (“guardian”) who will care for your children until they become adults. This guardian can also manage your money until they’re adults or you can appoint a separate trustee for that responsibility.
What Are The Roles and Responsibilities of the Guardian?
The guardian appointed in your Will has the same responsibilities and rights as a parent. Thus, the guardian will decide where your child lives, look after their medical treatments and choose their school.
It is important to note that the designated guardian must give their consent to the guardianship. Finally, a guardianship via Will only lasts 90 days, so your appointed guardian must file for full custody within that time.
Who Can Appoint A Guardian Via A Will?
Only a parent who is entitled to the sole custody of their children. For example, if you die and your spouse is still alive, you cannot bypass their right to custody with a Will. If your former spouse is still alive, but you have been granted sole custody of your children, you may appoint a different guardian in your Will.
If you and your spouse die at the same time, your two individual Wills must have named the same guardian to be valid.
What Happens To Your Children If You Die Without A Will?
In Ontario, the division of a deceased person’s estate is determined by the Succession Law Reform Act. If your spouse is still alive, they’re entitled to a preferential share of your remaining estate (after debts and taxes are paid.) This preferential share is worth $200,000. If your estate is worth more than $200,000, the remaining worth is divided evenly among your spouse and children. However, if your estate is worth $200,000 or less and you die without a will, your spouse will be entitled to your entire estate and your children will not receive any portion.
A valid Will is important for any individual, but has particular consequences for parents with children. Every parent needs a will, in order to ensure the safety and security of your children if you pass away, consult one of the experienced Wills and Estates Law lawyers from Chown Cairns.