IS A WILL ALL I NEED FOR ESTATE PLANNING?
THE ADVISER SAYS…
AGOOD QUESTION! MANY OF US realize the importance of having a will when it comes to estate planning. However, that’s often where we stop planning — to the detriment of those we leave behind. There are a number of what I call “daily living” issues that will need to be resolved, and taking just a few moments now to attend to them can literally save months of time and work for your loved ones.
CHECK YOUR BENEFICIARIES
When you first opened an RRSP, you may have been young or single and listed your parents or no one at all as beneficiaries on your account. However, if you are now married or have children, you may want your investments to go to them instead. Conversely, if you are divorced, you may want to revisit your earlier decisions. Registered investment accounts, like RRSPs and TFSAs, allow you to list beneficiaries so that if something happens to you, the money in these accounts will transfer relatively easily to your loved ones.
If you don’t have any beneficiaries on these accounts though, it can become quite a bit more difficult and time-consuming for those you care about to receive the proceeds. Take just a couple of minutes to review your investment accounts to ensure that you’ve listed the right people as beneficiaries.
LIST YOUR BILLS
In today’s world of electronic bill statements and online banking, paying bills has become easy. However, without a paper bill being mailed to your home every month, your spouse may not know what needs to be paid once you’re gone. The last thing you want is for them to fall behind on paying property tax or the heating bill because they didn’t even know it was due. To prevent this, make a list of your bills, the account number associated with them, and a customer service phone number. This way they will know what needs to be paid and be able to contact a company representative to transfer the bill to their name or close it down.
REVIEW YOUR WILL
As with the beneficiaries on your investment accounts, your will may need updating too. If your brother has moved to another province since you first wrote your will, do you still want him to be the guardian of your children and the executor of your estate?
Luckily, you may not need to go through the process of getting an entirely new will if you are just making small changes. You can talk to a lawyer about possibly adding a “codicil” to your existing will to make an amendment rather than redoing the whole thing.