Many people are aware of the need to put an estate plan in writing, but they put it off for various reasons. As a result, many British Columbia families need to settle an estate without any wills or formal documentation in place. In these cases, distribution of wealth is left up to the courts. Why do people allow this to happen? The truth is there are many reasons.
When estate settlements are defined only by the law and not by a written will, the results may not reflect the wishes of the deceased individual or the decedent's family. This is why preparing estate plans is so important. One reason people put off estate planning is because the conversations can be difficult and involve discussing uncomfortable issues like death and money. While this is understandable, the reality is that passing away is inevitable and that money issues are best dealt with while the person owning the assets is still alive.
Some people may have a will drawn up, but may not have updated it recently. In cases of divorce, remarriage and blended families, an outdated will can cause serious challenges. Without properly designated documents, it is possible for an ex-spouse to end up with an individual's entire estate.
Some people put off drawing up wills because there are issues they do not have clarity on. For example, they may not have an obvious choice for executor or for guardianship of their children. However, these issues should not hold someone back from planning the rest of their affairs. A British Columbia lawyer can help people to clarify their intentions and document them in a legally binding way.