It sounds like a joke but couldn’t be further from it. In reality, too few of us have wills or the will is not valid, up to date, or accurately reflect current wishes. It’s hard to overstate the advantages of having a good, up to date will. So that begs the question as to why more of us don’t embrace the power of a will – especially when we hear story after story of families, business partners, advisors, and lawyers having to clean up the mess a person without a will has left behind?
Below are the top “reasons” we’ve discovered, along with our response, for you to take into consideration. Hopefully some of these will resonate with you and allow you to make more educated choices when it comes to your will and estate planning.
1. All I have is debt –
We understand that with the sheer amount of monthly bills, car and mortgage payments you may have that it is sometimes hard to appreciate that you do, in fact, have an estate. Your estate can include your home, your vehicles and more which can be distributed.
You may have also overlooked the most important reasons for having a will:
- Naming guardians for your children, and
- Setting up trust funds to manage the impact of money on young lives; ensuring that they are not harmed by the struggle of managing money they are incapable of managing.
2. I don’t like having to deal with lawyers –
There are so many complex things that go along with this:
- Who should I call?
- What will it cost me?
- Why can’t I write the will myself using a will kit?
For one, each province has its own wills and inheritance laws, so you would need to be 100% sure who the will kit was drafted for, or how the courts would interpret the will wording in your province.
Also, unfortunately, you don’t necessarily know all the rules about how to make a will legally valid. It’s best to work with a lawyer who has experience with wills and estates and has practical experience with the questions you have – and the ones you haven’t thought about.
Simply consider what you pay in home and car insurance every year and then compare that to the cost of a will that would protect all that you care about deeply. Seems like a no brainer to us.
3. I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet –
Here’s the thing: by not having a will you’re removing everyone’s choice by allowing the government to decide for you. Distributing all your hard-earned property to others is likely the largest financial transaction you will ever have. So why don’t you want to be the one in control of it? You have the ability to state your unique wishes and to name who you trust to make sure your wishes are followed. The person you appoint will be the “personal representative” or “executor”. Your advisors will be able to give you guidance about the sort of person to fulfill this role.
4. I feel like my family will be okay sorting it out themselves –
Well, they could, but they shouldn’t have to. Your family must comply with the laws that dictate in your province, and there’s not a lot of flexibility. Not having a will means that your family must make decisions that are often more difficult and expensive than would be if a will existed. The grief, confusion and uncertainty may lead to unintended results. Your family alone would have to appoint someone to deal with it all, and this person may not be the best equipped.
Despite your best intentions, this can create friction in an already extremely delicate situation.
5. I just don’t have time –
Time is valuable, and none of us know how much time we have. However, this is better done now while you have the ability to do so. It is difficult to handle this alone, so make an appointment with someone who will guide you through the process and help you navigate the difficult decisions to be made. They can even write it out for you, taking all your worries away.
Now, it’s understandable that signing your will may feel like signing your own death warrant but try to remember that you’re not doing this for yourself. Your will is meant to protect your loved ones and all that you have built.