When and Why should you do it?

At Kearney’s, we are avid proponents of planning ahead – from thinking about your future health care needs to your wishes for your funeral – we encourage you to make pre-emptive decisions and either put them in writing or communicate verbally to your family what you want to happen in the future.

We are well aware that a favourite pastime of adults young and old is procrastination.  We know what we need to do but we keep putting it off to some undetermined future date, thinking we have lots of time to take care of business.

Then, you might realize that not having a will could cause problems for your family and loved ones if you die.  Administering your estate could be complicated, take a long time and be more expensive than if you had a will.

So, at some point, creating a will is on your list of things to do.  Especially if you have a family, you will want to let your family and loved ones know what you want to happen after you die – from financial matters to caring for your minor children. Having a will can prevent confusion and help to minimize disputes in your family.

Then you create your will and put into writing who you wish to be your Executor or Executrix, who you want to care for your minor children and how you want your assets to be disposed of. You can do this on your own or with a notary or lawyer.

And then things change in your life.  You realize that all or some of the things you intended to happen after your death are no longer what you want.

There are many circumstances in which you will want to make changes to your will.  In any event, you should review your document at least every five years.  Here are just some of life’s events that should nudge you towards amending your existing will:

  • Your marital status changes – you get engaged or married or you become separated or divorced.
  • Your spouse dies.
  • You have children.
  • You change your mind about who you wish to be your beneficiary(ies). Your relationships with the people in your life may change over time and you will want this reflected in your will.
  • You may wish to also review who the designated beneficiaries are with respect to your life insurance, RRSPs and TFSAs if you own these products.
  • The person you originally appointed to execute your will has died or no longer wishes to take on this task or you change your mind about who you wish to do this.
  • You have moved out of the country or out of the province – for example, each Canadian province has different laws about estate succession.
  • You experience a change in your financial situation.

Procrastination has been characterized as “the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences”.  We often put off tasks that we perceive as difficult or unpleasant or stressful.  We encourage you to take the important step now to review your will.  There’s no time like the present to ensure that it reflects your current life situation.