Wills and Estate planning

October 21, 2022 / Insight from Jane Alm, Senior Wealth Advisor and David Koski, The Estate House

Yellow sticky note with the text Make a Will

Life is a journey, but it ends, we don’t always know when or how. And while for some people, this is not a comfortable topic to discuss, a will and other important estate documents provide both piece of mind and direction on what you want to happen after you pass.


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 not receive.

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 meetings are:

  • 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 you.

Jane Alm

Senior Wealth Advisor

Phone : 780-412-6646
Email : jane.alm@nbc.ca


The particulars contained herein were obtained from sources we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed by us and may be incomplete. The opinions expressed are based upon our analysis and interpretation of these particulars and are not to be construed as a solicitation or offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of NBF.

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