Q. 1. It is my understanding that there are four key documents that every Catholic should have. What can you tell me about the "Legal Will" document?
A. 1. The "Will" (or "legal Will") is a legal document that details how you intend to have your estate handled after your death. It is an official declaration in which you name the person, or persons (naming an Executor), to manage your estate and provide for the transfer of your property.
An "executor" is also called a "trustee, a "personal representative," or a "liquidator."
"Being an executor can take quite a bit of time and involve a lot of paperwork. If there is no one close to you who can act as your executor, you might be able to appoint a professional such as a trust company, accountant, lawyer, or the provincial or territorial Public Trustee." [Quote from: http://www.seniors.gc.ca/eng/working/fptf/willandfuneral.shtml]
Anyone who has reached the age of majority, 18 where I reside, and who has assets or dependents (children) should have a will. The purpose of the "Legal Will" is also to avoid considerable hardship on the family, friends and business partners. Without a Will, your property may not be left to the people or charitable organizations that you wish to leave it to.
Assets are the things that you own, such as money (cash on hand), savings (Bank accounts), investments, vehicles, tools, clothing, electronics, life policies, jewellery, shares, etc... From the assets are paid the debts (money you owe) such as rent, utilities, credit cards, and other monthly reoccuring bills.
In your "Legal Will", you can direct funds from your estate by making a charitable donation to areas of ministry within the Catholic Church through the Foundation of your Diocese.
Under the Canadian law of most Provinces and Territories, if you die without a Will, your nearest relatives are the people who will share in your estate.
The executor / trustee is the person who makes the funeral arrangements:
- with the priest at the Church,
- with the Funeral Director at the Funeral Home,
- decide on the coffin with the Funeral Director,
- at the Cemetary, and
- preparing and placing death, funeral and obituary notices,
if such have not been prearranged and prepaid. If it has been prearranged and/or prepaid, then the executor / trustee only has to implement the legal will of the deceased person.
[Source: Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, SK, Canada.]