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Are do-it-yourself wills worth the risk?

More than half of those living in British Columbia do not have an estate plan. It may be easy to list the reasons why, including the fear of facing their mortality, misconceptions about the purpose of an estate plan and, of course, the cost. Therefore, it might seem that those who choose do-it-yourself kits to create their wills have an advantage over those who die without an estate plan in place. However, some financial advisors strongly disagree.

How to "stress test" a will throughout one's life

Some people may consider estate planning a "set it and forget it" exercise. However, without regular review, British Columbia estate planners may find that their wills become outdated, or they may miss key elements altogether. Regular stress tests, ideally done as a family with the support of a legal professional, can prevent mistakes or gaps in planning.

Are wills necessary if all assets have joint ownership?

There are many reasons people might put off estate planning. One common reason is that they believe that it is unnecessary since all assets are co-owned by a spouse or, less commonly, children. The thought process here is that if one dies, the other will simply inherit the assets. While this might seem straightforward, forgoing wills for joint ownership can have negative consequences for some British Columbia families.

How should individuals update their wills following a divorce?

When marriages end, there are many short-term and long-term legal, financial, and logistical considerations. One significant thing British Columbia divorcees should consider is how the divorce will impact their estate plans. Spouses have significant roles and entitlements when it comes to their partner's plans for incapacity or death. As such, it is important to revisit wills when a marriage is in the process of ending.

Preventing conflict over wills with support and communication

Dealing with an estate after a family member passes away can be challenging and emotional, even if everyone is getting along. British Columbia families with pre-existing tension, complicated estates or mixed opinions are particularly at risk for conflict if wills are incomplete, confusing or unexpected. For that reason, it's a good idea for people to take a few careful steps, such as prioritizing legal advice and communicating plans to help prevent friction among their beneficiaries.

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