An estate plan is more than just a will. It allows you to distribute your possessions, as well as protect your wealth, well-being, and provisions for dependents. If you do not have a will, your assets will be distributed per provincial legislation, not according to your specific wishes.
In an article posted by CIBC, only “30% of Canadian adults have a formal estate plan”. Having an estate plan is crucial, as in addition to control over the administration of your assets, it also allows you to provide plans for other types of contingencies, such as mental incapacity.
In the unfortunate circumstance that both parents pass away before their children reach the age of majority, it’s important for parents to have a plan in place for how to care for them. Leaving a trusted friend, family member or couple to care for your children is just one consideration. The legal guardian you choose should be comfortable with the responsibility of caring for your children. Another consideration is how to release financial assets for your children. You may want to create a trust, and have a trustee maintain the funds until the children are legal age.
Health and Welfare
It’s also essential to have a plan for incapacity. There could be a situation where you have not passed away, but are either mentally or physically incapable of making decisions. In these scenarios, you may want to consider creating a Power of Attorney. This role is designated for someone to manage your financial interests, or your health interests, if you are unable to do so. You may also put restrictions and time limits on the responsibilities you assign to a Power of Attorney.
If you have questions about what to include in an estate plan, it’s best advised to speak to an experienced estates lawyer. With legal advice, you can create an estate plan that satisfies your unique wishes and suits your specific circumstances.