People also ask, when should I first prepare a will?
A will is a living document that needs to change with your life. It
is recommended that once you have assets, you should provide written
direction on how you would like them disbursed in the event of your
death. This could be in your early 20s, when you are just getting
started with work, benefits, insurance policies, maybe bought a home,
got married or are in a committed relationship.
A will says who you want to look after your affairs and how you want
your estate to be handled when you die. As part of your planning, you
should ensure that you have discussed beneficiaries for your
registered assets (like RRSPs, TFSAs, pensions, etc.) with a lawyer to
determine the best solution for you. Your will also details how you
want all your other assets distributed. Ideally, you are working with
an estate lawyer along with your wealth advisor to establish what is
best in your specific situation.
In addition to a will, it’s important to think about what you would
want to happen if you were no longer able to make medical or financial
decisions before you die. A Personal Directive and an Enduring Power
of Attorney let you choose someone to manage your medical and
financial affairs if you are still alive but unable to make decisions
(for example, due to an illness or injury).
A Personal Directive is a legal document that allows you to appoint
someone to make decisions for you if, due to illness or injury, you no
longer have the capacity to make medical decisions. These decisions
include where you will live or the medical treatment you will or will
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to
appoint someone to make financial and some legal decisions on your
behalf. This may also include direction on who you want to make
decisions and operate your business or owner-operated company. An
enduring power of attorney is an effective way to ensure that your
financial obligations are met in your personal and business affairs
should you be unable to make these decisions for yourself.
It is important to update your will and estate documents (Personal
Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney) as your situation changes.
Not having a will, personal directive and enduring power of
attorney, or having out-of-date documents could create problems in
managing your care and fulfilling your final wishes. It is recommended
that you review your will and other important estate documents at
least every three to five years, as well as following major life
events – such as marriage, divorce, children, or retirement – to make
sure it these documents accurately reflect your current personal
situation and wishes.
Laws change and personal and financial circumstances change. For
instance, the wishes written down by a single person could change if
they marry and have children. Acquiring or selling property could also
change what you want to happen after your death. Also, you may no
longer have a close relationship with those you have named to look
after your affairs or act as guardians for your children, or your
children may have become adults. Relationships are always changing.
Important questions that your wealth advisor will ask you during
- When did you last review your will, personal directive and
enduring power of attorney?
- Do these still reflect your
current situation and wishes?
This blog contains some basic information and is intended to help
you think about what you need to do to ensure your affairs are in
order. Your estate lawyer and wealth advisor can provide you with more
details and information that will help you develop a personal estate
plan that will help you make the decisions that are right for