What comes to mind when you hear the words “estate planning”? Death? Something you can wait to complete? Something you might do when you make more money or have more assets? As uncomfortable as it may be to think about or plan for your demise, taking a proactive approach is the only way to protect your family. This includes establishing and legally procuring the required wills and codicils, power of attorney, estate administration, tax planning, and trusts. Below are just a few of the reasons to start estate planning early.
So That Your Wishes Are Honoured
Even if you discuss your wishes with your spouse and loved ones, you must legally establish your wishes with the appropriate estate planning documents. Without a legally established plan, you lose control—your family also loses control. A government-appointed official will be appointed to determine how your savings and property will be divided.
Appoint Guardianship To Your Person Of Choice
Not only will a government-appointed official determine how your savings and property will be divided, they will also decide who will raise your children. Although well-intentioned, you certainly don’t want a complete stranger determining what is in the best interests of your beloved children.
Your Family Will Lose Some Of Your Hard Earned Income
Without a legally binding estate plan, it will cost significantly more to settle your estate. This includes both taxes and estate fees that can be minimized by planning ahead of time. This means that your family may be left struggling far more than necessary.
Reduce Stress And Minimize Conflict
Without a clearly defined estate plan, your family may be left arguing over what to do with your assets—savings, property, life insurance, family heirlooms, and other assets of financial or emotional value. This can lead to significant conflict even with a plan in place, but is likely to be more severe without planning.
Speed Up The Process Of Settling Your Estate
With an estate plan in place, it can take several months to settle a fairly simple estate, and a year or more for complex estates. Without a plan in place, it will take significantly longer. Even if your family will have ample means once your estate is settled, they will have to wait much longer for your estate to settle—which can cause avoidable stress at an already fragile time.
Less than 6 out of 10 Canadians have even a basic will in place, meaning that 6 out of 10 families could be left vulnerable in the event of a loved one’s untimely demise. Even if you do not have much in terms of savings or assets, all parents must at the very least establish guardianship for their minor children. However, estate planning is beneficial, even if your assets are minimal. An experienced estate planning attorney will help you to determine the best ways to legally protect your family and estate.
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