What Do I Need to Bring a Lawyer for a Will?

Writing a Will

In another post we answered one of our clients’ most frequently asked questions regarding wills; “How much does a will cost?” Today, we’re answering another one of our top queries: “What do I need to bring a lawyer for a will?”

Paying a Wills & Estate lawyer for professional guidance regarding a will is already a significant step forward in reducing the uncertainty of doing it yourself. Making your will can be an emotionally taxing process. That’s why will preparation is crucial for ensuring that you get the most out of your will-writing process.

We at One80 Law are happy to provide a checklist for what you need to bring your lawyer when going in for your will-writing appointment. Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference!

Checklist for Choosing a Trusted Executor

Before taking any further steps, you need to go through the process of electing a trusted executor. This can be done by:

  • Cancelling or revoking any previously-drafted wills
  • Selecting one trusted person of sound mind
  • Considering one-to-two alternatives
  • Ensuring that the elected representative understands the task, that they agree to act, and that they know the location of the will and the family dynamics involved

Choosing an executor early will provide peace of mind for proceedings going forward. It will be a weight off your shoulders!

Checklist for Marriage Information

It’s not just your current marriage that needs to be considered. Previous spouses and intent for future spouses should also be discussed with your wills lawyer. As should all obligations to your children from any marriage. You will need to identify: 

  • Current marital status
  • Any previous marriages, the name of your previous spouse and dates of death or divorce
  • Current marital or cohabitation status
  • Plans for marriage in the future
  • Names and ages of all children and step-children

Checklist for Property and Debts

One of the first steps we recommend taking is outlining your property and debts. This includes:

  • Determining joint tenancy and principal residence status
  • Naming beneficiaries for life insurance policy, pension plans, RRSPs, and RRIFs
  • The location and account numbers of bank accounts
  • A list of personal possessions and securities, stocks, and bonds
  • A list of debts (which can include loans, mortgages, and guarantees)

Noting exact amounts, dates, and beneficiaries will help to signal to your lawyer which areas need more attention during the will-writing process.

Checklist for Bequests

Bequests— more commonly referred to as gifts— are, undoubtedly, one of the most arduous parts of compiling a will checklist. Follow our step-by-step below to ease the process.

  • Compile a list that includes: spouse, former spouses, children, children by former spouses, relatives, business associates, friends, and other related institutions (such as education or charity)
  • Outline cash bequests, including the amount and beneficiary 
  • Outline personal possessions and their beneficiaries 
  • Determine how you want your estate to be distributed
  • List alternate beneficiaries for each bequest 
  • Ask your lawyer if you need a testamentary trust
  • Write out intentions behind each bequest and consistently sign all beneficiary designation forms

Checklist for Remaining Considerations

The One80 team is here to help with all will-writing considerations, especially those that don’t fall under the main categories. Those remaining considerations typically include:

  • How to clearly and professionally navigate relationship challenges
  • Designating guardians for minors
  • Outlining burial wishes
  • How to arrange payment for your professional representative
  • Ensuring that any and all tax issues are resolved
  • Reviewing the will to ensure all legal milestones have been met
  • Guaranteeing that you have notarized copies of your will

If you’re ready to get started on your will you can download our questionnaire by filling out the form below. Have questions or aren’t sure where to start?  Contact One80 Law today.