You may not care, but you can make your death easier on your family with a little planning.
Death. A sweet release? Hardly, at least for your family and associates, especially if you didn’t leave explicit instructions on how to divide up your estate and that includes your collection of Elvis curios. Antiques? Maybe in your eyes. Memorabilia? Again, maybe. But using such terms doesn’t hold sway with a judge if one of your heirs decides to challenge your wishes. “Never use words like antiques, memorabilia, my stuff, in your will because they are not definable,” says Les Kotzer, a Thornhill, Ont.-based wills lawyer and author of four books including The Wills Lawyer . “I had a guy come in who had a homemade will that said ‘I leave everything to my best friends and my favourite relatives.’ I said, ‘What the hell, who are these people?’”
Jillian Bryan, portfolio manager and investment advisor at TD Wealth, says it’s also important to remember that changes in marital status, the birth or death of a family member, or a change in financial situation or employment status are factors that could require you to update your estate plan. To the right are some more issues that need your attention.