A Will sets out your instructions as to what you want done with your property after you die. It also sets out whom you wish to act as your personal representative to carry out your wishes as set out in your Will.

Appointment of an Executor: This is the individual (s) or institution, such as a trust company, whom you appoint to carry out the instructions set out in your Will. Often your spouse will act as your executor.

Appointment of Guardian: These are the individuals who will care for your infant ( under age 19 in Nova Scotia) children.

Distribution of Assets: The will should set out whom you wish to receive your assets and on what, if any, conditions. For example, you may wish to leave your grandfather clock, a family heirloom, to your eldest grandchild if he or she is over the age of 25. Or you may wish to divide your jewelry among your daughters. You may wish to leave a gift to a charity. These are specific bequests and will be distributed by your executor as you direct. As well, you may wish to specify that if the beneficiary dies before you that the gift goes to his or her heirs.

Burial Instructions: You may put instructions in your Will concerning your funeral and burial, however, it is not advisable as the Will often is not located or read until after your funeral. Separate instructions should be provided to the person who is likely to arrange your funeral. Also, if you wish to donate organs for transplant purposes, these wishes should be communicated to your family and not stated only in the Will.

Restrictions: As a general rule, you may distribute your property as you see fit. However, there is a requirement under The Testator’s Family Maintenance Act that you provide support for those persons , such as dependant children and your widow or widower, who are considered dependants under the Act. As well, The Matrimonial Property Act states that a surviving spouse is entitled to an equal share of the matrimonial assets.

The information contained in this brochure is intended for general information only. For advice specific to your needs and circumstances, you should consult a lawyer.