Current government statistics show that 50% of Canadians don’t have a will, and for the 50% that do, many are out of date and a ticking time bomb for their estate. While some just don’t know how to get started, many others believe they can’t afford the cost to have a lawyer draft one for them.
Are you part of the 50% who don’t? Having an up to date will is the cornerstone of your estate plan. Without a will, your assets could end up allocated as determined by one’s respective provincial intestate (dying with no will) legislation. This process takes time, can increase costs, and will probably not match your wishes for your estate assets disposition. If you have assets and want to give direction for their distribution upon your death, you need a will, as the last thing you want is the government deciding this.
Understand the more significant the estate and the more children involved, the importance of ensuring your will and other legal documents are current and up to date with your wishes.
Start the process either by working with your lawyer or if you don’t know one - ask your advisor for a recommendation on one that they trust. It would be helpful to get a list of all the information a lawyer might ask you to bring in advance of your meeting.
If you have any concerns about the legal or financial aspects of your estate distribution, work with your advisors for solutions to ensure your wishes get followed. Ideally, without any unforeseen economic consequences. For example, if you own a farm or small business and have a child who wants to take it over and are looking to give your other children an equitable but not necessarily equal share. You might consider a life insurance solution as a practical way to achieve this, depending on either your individual or your businesses’ financial circumstances.
We can help you with your estate planning needs and supply you with a will planning guide - to help explain that process, but you will need to consult with a lawyer to draft your will, personal directives and enduring powers of attorney. Plus, if incorporated, consult with your CPA and financial advisor - on how to structure the ownership of any corporate life insurance policy.
by Peter Boys, CAFA Associate Advisor at Boys Financial Services