Friday, February 21st, 2020
In our incredibly fast-paced world, it can be extremely tough to slow down and plan for the future.
It's even harder to think about a time when you won't be around. But you owe it to your loved ones to ensure that your final wishes are known and properly documented. If they're not, your hard earned money may not be distributed the way you'd like, or more tax could be paid than necessary.
The next big issue when thinking about your final wishes is how you'll draft that document up, which is called your will. And this step is where many people stall.
“There are two main reasons people delay getting their wills done: the decisions involved, and the costs involved," says Jason Heath, fee-only Certified Financial Planner with Objective Financial Partners Inc.
"Someone may need to make decisions about who to name as their executor (the person who fulfills the wishes of your will) or who they would want to be guardian of their minor children. These selections are not always obvious. There may also be complexities like second marriages and children from previous marriages, or unique assets like family businesses or cottages. It can be difficult for people to make decisions about important estate wishes, even with the help of a professional."
What if you're just starting out in life, don't have investments yet or have lots of debt? Karen Platten, Q.C., Partner and Estate Lawyer with McLennan Ross LLP says, “while individuals do not think that they have assets, if they have insurance on debt, for example, the debt could be covered and then the asset becomes an asset of the estate."
You may also want to draft or update your will when you have a child or tie the knot. Platten says, “It's important to name a guardian, and a will is an obvious place to do so. Additionally, if you don't set up a trust for your child/children, they will receive the funds at 18, which is generally not what a parent wants. Getting married can be a touch point if you want someone other than your spouse to receive some of your assets."
You've probably seen kits advertised on TV or on social media that can be used to create your own will. For a cost that's less than a dinner out, you can tackle this sticky estate planning issue. But are low-cost will kits a good idea?
Platten doesn't think so. “They cannot ask all of the appropriate questions or give you appropriate advice where your circumstances are even slightly out of the ordinary, such as where you have a grandchild that you are required to provide for. In most circumstances, they simply do not cover enough situations."
“Yes, you can do a holographic (handwritten) will," advises Platten. “But it must conform to the requirement of the particular Act in your province. Some provinces do not allow holographic wills, so you would need to confirm that you can do so in your province. In Alberta, for example, a will can be valid if written totally in your handwriting and signed by you at the end."
An estate lawyer will walk you through some equally important conversations and documents that a website simply can't. Like drafting a Power of Attorney (if something happens to you while you're alive) or your personal directives (how you'd like your health care handled).
Some things in life should be decided quickly, and getting them delivered the next day is a welcome convenience. Others deserve a step back for planning and careful consideration. Take the time to consider your final wishes and make sure they're documented prudently, updated regularly and stored in the right place.
This article or video (the “Content”), as applicable, is provided by independent third parties that are not affiliated with Tangerine Bank or any of its affiliates. Tangerine Bank and its affiliates neither endorse or approve nor are liable for any third party Content, or investment or financial loss arising from any use of such Content....
The Content is provided for general information and educational purposes only, is not intended to be relied upon as, or provide, personal financial, tax or investment advice and does not take into account the specific objectives, personal, financial, legal or tax situation, or particular circumstances and needs of any specific person. No information contained in the Content constitutes, or should be construed as, a recommendation, offer or solicitation by Tangerine to buy, hold or sell any security, financial product or instrument discussed therein or to follow any particular investment or financial strategy. In making your financial and investment decisions, you will consult with and rely upon your own advisors and will seek your own professional advice regarding the appropriateness of implementing strategies before taking action. Any information, data, opinions, views, advice, recommendations or other content provided by any third party are solely those of such third party and not of Tangerine Bank or its affiliates, and Tangerine Bank and its affiliates accept no liability in respect thereof and do not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information in the third party Content. Any information contained in the Content, including information related to interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors, is subject to change without notice, and neither Tangerine Bank nor its affiliates are responsible for updating this information.
Tangerine Investment Funds are managed by Tangerine Investment Management Inc. and are only available by opening an Investment Fund Account with Tangerine Investment Funds Limited. These firms are wholly owned subsidiaries of Tangerine Bank. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.