Making a will is one of the tasks that people tend to put off most, and it’s one of the main reasons why every year millions of dollars worth of assets left by loved ones don’t end up in the right hands.
None of us like to talk about death and I can understand why, but failing to make a will can leave those left behind with significant problems and stress at what is already a tough time.
Also, having spent a lifetime working hard to accrue wealth and maybe property, surely you want to have a say in who receives what when you die?
A will can ensure that assets remain within the family and are passed on down the generations. Some people are concerned that new spouses may inherit their assets in the future, but a well-structured will can stop this happening.
More than half of Canadian adults do not have a will and could be at risk of losing control over their estate if they die.
Previous reports have estimated that about half of people who have lost a family member in the past 10 years have struggled to locate their financial assets.
The problem is, if people don’t know what savings, investments, life insurance and treasured possessions you own, they have little chance of tracking them down.
They could turn to a lawyer to help with their search, but it’s easy to run up a bill of $1000-plus for this service, and even more if it’s not a straightforward case.
Don’t leave it too late
The most common trigger for writing a will is reaching a milestone age, maybe 40, 50 or even older. Other cited reasons that spur people on to make a will are the birth of a child, the death of relative and buying a property.
Despite the fact that life events such as marriage, divorce and the death of a spouse can significantly alter the effectiveness of a will, many people have never updated their wishes, with a third of people admitting they simply haven’t got round to it.