Is your will up to date? Do you know that more than half of all Canadians don’t have a signed will? Never mind one that’s up to date. Here are 5 reasons to update your will:
- You haven’t updated your will since you divorced.
- You haven’t updated a will since you got married.
- You haven’t updated your will since you had a child.
- You haven’t updated your will since you bought your last house.
- You haven’t updated your will since you bought the cottage or vacation property.
In most instances, your ex spouse is automatically removed from your will upon divorce. The problem is that they can contest that will and your estate still has to defend against the challenge. An up to date will can make your wishes clear in a new situation and minimize the potential for crazy costs defending it. A good Legal Savings Plan usually includes your will and powers of attorney. Use your #LegalSavingsPlan and make sure your will is kept up to date.
And, what about your power of attorney for medical care? Can you imagine your ex spouse making a decision that could end your life? Just sayin…
When you marry, your new spouse is usually entitled to the matrimonial home when you die and it can be as simple as filling out the appropriate forms to change title. What if you had both agreed certain assets would go to the kids including that home? When and how will that happen?
Without updating your will, your estate could end up tied up in escrow for months if not years while the state takes over and sorts everything out. Imagine all your accounts being frozen and your spouse and children have no access to that cash!
There are two issues here. An up to date will can make everything clear and your executor can manage the process in a timely manner. Secondly, I would recommend there be insurance that pays directly to your spouse to ensure there is enough cash available while your estate is processed.
When your child is born, your whole focus in life shifts. They become the centre of your universe and often become what drives you. The challenge is that they also consume all of your available time and things like your will just don’t seem important.
All of a sudden, they are 10 years old and you realize that if something had happened, you have no idea who would look after them or where they would end up. Your assets could be tied up in escrow and there could be nothing available to look after them. The children could end up wards of the state as everything is sorted out.
Your will is often referred to as your last love letter. That’s because your will makes your wishes clear and gives the right people legal standing.
4. Buying A Home
When you buy a home, there are provisions under law for married people. Fill out the appropriate papers and title is transferred. These laws don’t necessarily apply to common law couples and there is no provision for children.
Can you imagine if you and your spouse or partner die at the same time? First, that isn’t usually the case. Government officials will actually try to determine who died first to figure out the order of things. One dies a minute before the other and therefor predeceases their partner. The one who dies first doesn’t inherit from the other and, unless there is provision in a will, the assets all go to the next first of kin of the person who lived a minute longer. Of course, that’s after the “system” takes all of their appropriate fees for handling the disposition of the estate and that can take years.
5. Cottage or Vacation Property
This one can get really messy. The first problem is, do they want it? Secondly, what happens if they all want it?
Cottages and vacation properties tend to have a lot of memories and really stir the emotions. Rationale seems to go out the window. This is where the will comes in.
If there is one person or family in particular that is really tied to the cottage, have conversations with all of the family and get agreement before you write your will. Then make it very clear who gets the cottage and how the assets will be divided to equalize things if you want to make sure everyone gets “their fair share” of your estate. If you think it will be contentious, insist on the property being sold and divide the proceeds.
There is no way to be sure everything will go smoothly but at least you have made your wishes clear.
Use your Legal Savings Plan and keep your will up to date!
Estate planning is one of those things that many of us like to avoid. In order to effectively plan, it requires facing mortality and for most of us, that’s difficult to do. The reality is that we never when our time is up. Do you care enough to make sure your loved ones know what you wanted to happen so that they don’t end up fighting over what they think you wanted?
Make it a great day!
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for my beautiful grand daughter celebrating her birthday today. I’m thankful for my beautiful children. I’m thankful for my #LegalSavingsPlan !
What are you thankful for today?
Click HERE to learn more about legal savings plans.