January is always our busiest month of the year at LegalWills; it is a time for reflection and also a time for looking to the future. Over the holidays many of us have spent time with relatives and discussed family matters. There may have been a conversation about a family member who passed away in 2011, and the chances are that person made a mess of their estate planning (the vast majority of people don’t even have a Will in place). Maybe around the dinner table on Christmas Day there was a discussion about your own family’s succession and estate planning; who will get the cottage? or maybe Grandad promised you his pocket watch. One important talk that we had was the difficult discussion surrounding the guardianship of our daughter; who would the most appropriate guardian be, and would they be prepared to take on the responsibility?
New Year’s Resolutions are often made in the area of healthcare and financial wellbeing, and these are the very areas addressed in a complete estate plan. Two key healthcare documents are the Living Will and Power of Attorney which allow you to both express your own wishes if you are ever unable to speak for yourself, and also allow you to appoint somebody to make both financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. Along with eating a healthier diet, and working out, it should be a resolution to get the most important documents in place; life insurance, powers of attorney and a living Will.
Financially there is probably no more important document than a Last Will and Testament, it is part of a sound financial plan and not a document to be written just before you die (chances are, when your death is imminent it will not be a convenient time to write a Will). The New Year is a great time to either create a Will, or review one that is already in place. It makes sense to; review your choice of personal guardian for your children, make sure that you have chosen the most appropriate person to serve as Executor of your estate, and take another look at your beneficiaries. So you may have a resolution to keep an eye on your spending, save money where possible, try to increase your income. But the most important step in your financial planning is to put your Last Will and Testament together.
It only takes about 30 minutes and is very affordable if you use one of the interactive online services now available like www.legalwills.ca , www.uslegalwills.com and www.legalwills.co.uk. There is no legal requirement to pay for the services of a lawyer or solicitor to create a Will, everybody has a legal right to prepare their own Will.
So why not cross one resolution off today and get your estate planning documents in order?