Often times, Wills don't get the attention they should and frequently end up being little more than an add-on service provided by a lawyer when you purchase a new home, or a 'do it yourself' document.
Here are 4 common mistakes that our office sees quite often:
Leaving too much money to kids too early...
If you and your spouse die simultaneously and you add up all your assets, like the value of your house, life insurance, investments, and pension benefits, your estate may be quite large. You do not want to leave your child half a million dollars when they are 21 years old. Think about staging the ages and amounts that your children will receive.
Not understanding what assets your Will covers...
Many assets, like TFSAs, RRSPs, pensions and insurance policies may have direct beneficiaries. These beneficiary designations will generally trump your Will and these assets may end up being passed outside your estate. This may mean that your children will inherit large amounts money on their 18th birthday.
Joint assets also generally pass outside your estate, with the survivor getting the asset based on the Rights of Survivorship. How your joint assets are registered is important.
Not walking through what happens if you die...
If your Estate has assets that are tied up in real estate or a business, there may not be enough cash to pay funeral expenses, probate fees, and taxes. This may mean your family has to sell the home to come up with the cash to cover these expenses. This is especially problematic when the Guardian of your children lives in an apartment and may need your house so they have a place to raise your children. Would you want your Guardian to move into your home?
Not having a Will...
More than half of Canadians do not have a Will. A CIBC survey says nearly 1/3 of Baby Boomers haven’t prepared one. Unfortunately, not having a Will won’t keep you from dying. And, and if you wait too long, an incapacity can prevent you from preparing a proper Will.
If you die without a Will, your money doesn’t go to the government as some people fear. But it does get distributed based on the government’s formulas, which may result in things not going as you would like.
Sometimes do-it-yourself seems better than not doing it at all and it is definitely cheaper. However, taking the time to meet with a Wills and Estate lawyer to discuss these four frequent mistakes can save your family heartache.
Leave your loved ones solutions, not problems.
Call my office at (780) 458-8228 and my team would be happy to help you create a proper Will and estate plan.