There are so many people out there who have not given serious thought about Estate Planning. They question “what will happen if I die?”, “what will happen if both myself and spouse dies, my child(ren) will get the property , right?”.
Before that happens (I mean before you die), how about having a sit down with a lawyer and plan your estate. Simple, right? Not as simple as one may think.
It is a process, and the more prepared you are at your first meeting with your lawyer, the better it is for your lawyer to begin drafting your Will with all of the information being available upfront. Know who you want as your Trustees, alternate trustees, and know who will hold your Powers of Attorney, both property and personal care.
You need to think about all of property and assets that you have, including any corporate assets, you need to think about your bank accounts, life insurance policies, investments (RESP’s RRIF’s etc.), and vehicles.
It is common for spouses to have mirror wills (if I die my estate goes to my spouse and vis versa), but if you plan on something different, be prepared and instruct your lawyer and be clear with your instructions.
One of the most important things that clients tend to forget to think about is in the event of a common disaster. What happens if your whole family dies? That also needs to be addressed. Are there charities that you would like to support? Are there friends who have been behind you that you would like to leave something to? Think about the whole picture.
The more information that you come to meeting with, the quicker your Estate Planning will go.
Christine Allan, Law Clerk