Checking our finances

Having a Will and Estate Planning Are Important at Any Stage of Life

Do you have a valid will in place in case you were to suddenly pass away? No? You’re not alone. A majority of Canadians (56%) do not have a signed will, according to a recent survey.* The sudden passing of pop superstar Prince is a grim reminder of the importance of preparing one.

Last year, Prince made news headlines worldwide when he suddenly passed away at the young age of 57. If you thought someone as successful and wealthy as Prince would have a will,  you’d be sadly mistaken. Prince made a fatal flaw – he never bothered to prepare one, dying intestate (a fancy word for passing away without a will). Maybe he thought he was too young, but the fact remains that his $250 million estate is to be divided by the courts. This may or may not be according to his personal wishes.

You don’t have to be a multimillionaire like Prince to have a will. It’s important to have one in place for life’s major milestones, yet less than half of Canadians do. The survey found that only 30% of Canadians drafted one upon the birth of a child, while 20%  did so when experiencing a change in marital status, and finally 13% got one when making the single biggest purchase of their lifetime – buying a home.*

What happens if you  die without a will?

If you die without a will like Prince, the courts will determine how your assets are to divided. This may or may not be according to your wishes. Your loved ones are already dealing with the grief of your untimely passing. Do you really want to give them this added stress?

If you have children, preparing a will and estate planning are crucial. You may think that your spouse could look after your children if you were to pass away, but what if both your spouse and you were to die in a car crash at the same time? What if you were a single parent? Unless you have a valid will, it will be up to the courts to decide who looks after your kids. You may have wanted your godmother to, but unless you wrote it down, the judge won’t have any way of knowing.

What’s stopping us from preparing a will?

A staggering 88% of Canadians between the ages of 27 and 34 don’t have a will, with the most common reason being that they believe they’re too young (21%).* But the thing is, many adults in that age group experience major milestones like buying a home or the birth of a first child, the perfect reason to prepare one.

Another common reason for not preparing one is because 29% of Canadians don’t know how to get started, or believe they can’t afford one.* This is understandable; they could very well be facing a lot of expenses between the ages of 27 and 34 – from mortgage payments to childcare costs.

You don’t have to spend a bundle. In fact, Heritage has recently launched a Will Kit as a value-added service for their clients. With this kit,  you’ll be able to download and complete their DIY template with the help of a step-by-step guide. Best of all – it’s user-friendly and absolutely free of charge. Download and prepare one today and make sure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re unable to do so.