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Wills & Estates

A will is a legal document that gives a person control over what will happen to the things they own (known as the estate) after death. A will also allows you to name who will be assigned to settle your affairs after your death.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Wills Act sets out requirements for creating a legally valid will, and other requirements have been developed through cases involving wills decided through the court system. The person making a will, also known as the testator, must be at least 17 years of age and have legal capacity.

Capacity is a legal term meaning that a person has the mental ability at the time the will is made to understand the consequences of what they are doing in the will and the fact that they are making a legal document. Capacity has been interpreted by the courts to mean that the person making the will understands the type and amount of assets he or she is including in the will, and the fact that the will benefits some people and excludes other people from receiving assets.

Secondly, a will must be written.

If a person dies without a will, they are considered to have died intestate. In that case, their estate will be distributed according to the Newfoundland and Labrador Intestate Succession Act, which might be different from what they wanted had they made their own will.