Every good financial plan has a solid base. In that base are items like cash flow management, risk management through insurance and having an up-to-date will. A recent survey found that 56% of Canadian do NOT have a will.
I recently had a client pass away and they didn’t have a will, which made for some very tough situations for a family already going through a difficult time.
Ken, what happens if I don’t have a will?
When you don’t have a signed will when you die, you are said to die “intestate”, which basically means the government gets to decide what happens to your estate. Dying intestate means:
- You can’t choose your beneficiaries (aside from insurance policies and segregated funds)
- You can’t choose who will administer your estate
- You can’t plan to minimize taxes
- You can’t choose who gets the kids
But I’m too young/have no money
Putting a will in place when you are younger, before having children or before selling your startup to Google for billions is always a good idea. Life is less complicated and the creation of a will should be pretty quick. When you do have children or make the Forbes 500, making amendments to an existing will is easy (and likely cheaper than starting from zero)
I’m not important enough for a will
No? Remember when Prince died and didn’t have a will? He was worth close to $300 million. They are STILL fighting over his estate today. And you know who else didn’t have a will?
- Abe Lincoln (and he was a lawyer!)
- Sonny Bono
- James Brown
- Jimi Hendrix (who’s estate still earns over $1 million annually)
OK, you’ve convinced me. I saw a commercial the other day…..
Nope. While do-it-yourself will kits are cheap and, technically, legal, there are too many issues that could arise if it is not done properly. Much like your investment portfolio, you do what you do best and leave that to the professionals. A decent will, prepared by a lawyer, can run you as little as $300 and may include Power of Attorney (subject for a later post).
Famous or not, you need a will. It can save your family a lot of time, money and headaches. Speak to us about getting a will set up as part of your estate plan. We work with trusted lawyers or you could ask your friends. It’s never too early….you just don’t want to be too late.
Kenenth Coombs CFP CHS RRC
Ken has 12 years experience in the financial services industry, is a Registered Retirement Consultant and a Certified Financial Planner. Ken has written financial planning columns and has been a guest on financial radio and podcast programs.