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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 However, without regular review, British Columbia estate planners may find that their wills become outdated, or they may miss key elements altogether.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.

Besides wills, what estate planning documents should be prepared?

No one wants to leave his or her family in a challenging predicament when he or she passes away. Deciding where assets will go and how affairs will be handled after death is important for British Columbia adults. Just as important as making these decisions is documenting them in ways that are comprehensive, comprehensible and legally sound. This involves the drafting of documents, particularly wills.

Life events that mean it's time to take another look at wills

Most people understand the need to prepare legal documents to share end-of-life decisions, and to prepare for the distribution of their wealth after that. But, preparing a will is only the first step. British Columbia individuals and families should also take a look at wills and other plans to reaffirm details and make critical changes at key points in life.

Common items people forget when drafting their wills

There are many obvious items to consider when estate planning, such as the fate of the family home or the guardianship of children. But, some of the most important things may not be as obvious. British Columbia planners should consider these commonly forgotten items when drafting their wills.

The importance of revisiting wills when you remarry

When marriages end, chances are that one or both parties will move on to other partners. Statistically, two-thirds of divorcees between 55 and 64 told Pew Research they had remarried in a 2013 study. British Columbia individuals giving marriage another shot have several financial considerations to keep in mind, especially those who have accumulated wealth in between their marriages. One of the main things to consider is the details within wills.

Should funeral plans be considered when preparing wills?

Thorough, informed and legally sound plans for the future can make it far easier for families to move forward when a loved one passes away. Preparing wills, compiling essential information and sharing end-of-life wishes may seem morbid, but British Columbia families who take these steps can reduce a lot of stress when the time comes. Funeral plans can be helpful to include in this process, especially if there are particular wishes loved ones should consider.

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