November is make a will month: why it should be a priority
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November is ‘Make a will’ month. It’s good to get a nudge because over 57% of Canadians don’t have a will, and over 30% of Canadians cite procrastination and ‘putting it off’ as reasons for why they haven’t completed their wills. The thought of dying can be extremely uncomfortable. As a result, many Canadians opt to put off anything related to the topic of death, including making a will.
As scary as it can be, avoiding the conversation isn’t going to prevent it from happening. As a caregiver, end of life planning is one of the most important conversations you can have. Here are some reasons it’s important to prioritize making a will.
You’ll open important conversations around end of life planning
Most people seem to think that they don’t need a will, assuming that their family “will know what to do if I die.” This assumption isn’t necessarily true, and can often cause increased family friction, since death, grief, and loss can make decision-making highly emotional.
However hard or uncomfortable it may be, end of life planning is one of the most important conversations you should be having with those you are caring for. By having these conversations and making these decisions, you’ll take the burden off family members to guess (and challenge) what your final wishes would be.
As a caregiver, creating your own will and discussing it is a great way to open the door for these important conversations with those you are caring for in your life! Here are some crucial questions to ask:
- Do they have a legally-valid will and does their executor know where it’s stored?
- What would be their ideal end of life wishes?
Roles such as the guardian or executor can be financially and emotionally taxing, so it’s important to talk to the person(s) you choose when making your will, to ensure that they’re up to the task!
You’ll control what happens to your belongings
A common misconception is that if you die without a will, the government gets all your stuff. This is not true! If you die without a will, you are considered to have died “intestate.” If this happens, provincial legislation will appoint your executor and dictate how your estate is distributed. Your estate includes all of your assets (anything you possess of financial or other value) and any debts.
What exactly happens with your estate can vary from province to province and it may end up being very different from what you would have wanted.
You can make a plan for your dependents
If you have any children or dependents, your will is where you’ll make plans for them in the event of your death. It can be difficult to think about someone else raising your child, but picking a guardian and custodian to care for them will bring you extra peace of mind, knowing you’ve secured their future.
In fact, the birth of a child is one of the top life events that push people to make a will. If you don’t choose guardians and custodians for your minor child or children, the courts will appoint individuals for you. Unfortunately, it may not be the person or people that you would have chosen yourself.
You deserve peace of mind
The thoughts and emotions around preparing for your own death can be extremely uncomfortable, but it can be even more stressful knowing that you haven’t made a plan. The sooner you are able to put your decisions in writing, the sooner you can enjoy some extra peace of mind. Not only can you relax, knowing that your family members are protected in an emergency, but you’ll guarantee that your estate will end up in the right hands.
It’s important to remember that a will is not a one-and-done type of document. You’re able make changes and updates to your will as your life situation changes! So being stuck on a decision or thinking you may need to make changes is no excuse to not complete the task. The feeling of procrastination can be a dark cloud hanging over your head, making it difficult to fully enjoy the present moment when you’re spending your energy trying to avoid that unfinished business. At the end of the day, you’ll feel better having a will than you would if you didn’t have one at all!
Making a will can be easier than you think.
For most Canadians with simple estates, an online will platform like Willful, is a great way to complete your documents. They’ll walk you through the process step-by-step and tailor your will to your unique life situation. However, if you have a complex estate or are concerned about capacity issues, a lawyer is always a great option for customized legal advice. Once you start to explore your options, you’ll realize that making a will can be much easier, quicker, and more affordable than you might expect. Why wait any longer? Get your 20% off all Willful packages here.
Have you completed your will? How did you feel when it was done?