COVID-19 – Do You Have An Up To Date Will?

Morbid? Yes. Timely? Yes. A Will is a “back-burner” thing. Life is busy… but all of a sudden, a global health crisis has hit us all. If you don’t have a Will in place, or if you have an old Will, the time to act is now to get your estate planning in order. In this ever-changing situation that has been thrust upon us all, it is imperative to have your estate planning up to date, to reflect your current wishes and assets. Let’s face it, there is never a “good time” to get this done, but perhaps these next few weeks of isolation will give you the peace you need to address these “back-burner” tasks. Here’s why:

Do you have a Will? If you die without a Will, your assets may be administered by the Public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes.

Do you have minor children? Your Will is the legal instrument that allows you to appoint an Executor/Trustee and the Guardian of your children. If you do not have a Will, the Government may act as guardian of your children until a Court appointed Guardian is selected, and any money for the benefit of your children will be held by the Government until your children turn 19. Wouldn’t you prefer to appoint close family members or friends to take care of your children and to control at what age they receive their Trust fund? Insurance policies nowadays can be upwards of a million dollars, making trusts and age controlled distribution even more important.

Has there been a change in your marital status? Divorce or marriage may have a significant impact on your estate distribution. Children of a prior marriage may not receive what is intended without the completion of a new Will.

Are you a blended family? A blended family situation adds complexity to your estate plan. Tangled assets, ex‐spouses, “your children, my children and our children” can have major ramifications on your estate plan.

Do you know much about Trusts? You’ve probably heard the term but how do you know if it’s right for you?  Trusts are an excellent tool which can protect your estate from Wills Variation claims and save you thousands in taxes.

Do you have a business? Giving assets or shares in a company is a tricky business. Any shareholder agreements or partnership agreements need to be carefully reviewed by your lawyer to ensure they reflect your wishes.

This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. For more information on estate planning/incapacity planning and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis at [email protected] or on 250-869-1140. Vanessa practices in the area of Real Estate and Wills & Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna and would be more than happy to assist you.

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