Estate planning involves making preparations for the transfer of your property upon death. That property (called an estate) can include anything and everything from money to real estate to personal belongings.
This subject may make you shudder, but there are many reasons estate planning is important. Here are four of them:
1. You will have peace of mind
Years ago, Ron Popeil, who marketed his Showtime Rotisserie in infomercials, coined the phrase “Set it, and forget it!” And that’s exactly what you do with estate planning… set it, and forget it!
Having an estate plan gives you peace of mind as you know that your loved ones will be fully taken care of. In addition, you can make a plan to appoint people to make financial and health care decisions for you when you can’t.
2. You can save money
Good estate planning - aided by your lawyer and financial and tax advisors - will include consideration of minimizing taxes payable to Canada Revenue Agency, administrative costs, probate and legal fees. It may include registration of assets in joint ownership; the purchase of life, critical illness, and long-term care insurance; business and succession planning - all of which are focused on saving you and your estate money!
3. You will save your family aggravation
Without a will, trust or estate plan, you have no control over who is responsible for the management and division of your estate. The British Columbia Wills, Estates and Succession Act dictates how your estate is to be divided if you don’t have a will. Neither you (since you will be deceased) nor your family will have any say as to where those assets end up.
For example, most spouses leave their entire estate to each other. However, pursuant to section 21 of the Act, a spouse is entitled to a preferential share of $300,000 or $150,000 depending on the size of the estate, and the balance is shared between the spouse and the deceased’s other descendants (children).
Clients routinely sign powers of attorney naming individuals to deal with financial decisions and health and care decisions. Once again, if you do not have these documents, it is necessary to make an expensive Court application to appoint a committee under the provisions of the British Columbia Patients Property Act when you are unable to manage yourself or your affairs.
4. Your estate and loved ones are more important than your car
A recent survey published by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (ICBC) reported that BC motorists pay on the average $1,832 to insure their cars for just one year. The cost of preparing a will, power of attorney, and representation agreement is usually`less than $1,832 and is not payable every year.
We know that ICBC will protect us against damage to or loss of our vehicles or injury in the event of an accident. Don’t you think that it is more important to protect your loved ones and estate by ensuring that you have an estate plan in place?
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy; it’s for EVERYBODY! The key is planning for tomorrow today so that you can leave a lasting legacy for your family.
Our experienced estate planning lawyers can help with your own plan. Contact us for an appointment at (604) 270-9571 or send us a message.