Managing estate plans can be intimidating. In fact, many people are so afraid of the thought of it that they fail to plan adequately. Or, it may seem that with so much to learn and do, you simply don’t know where to start. Either way, this ultimately ends up harming the individuals who are included in an estate plan (or lack thereof).
It’s critical that you plan for as much as you can, and leave as little unanswered as possible. A loved one’s passing is extremely difficult, and it’s only made more so when a proper estate plan is not in place.
To help, try thinking about estate planning in smaller sections. We’ve outlined five factors to consider when you’re setting up your estate.
1) Child Care
If you have children, you must plan for who will take care of them. This requires a great amount of thought and consideration. It’s an important decision that involves a variety of factors. Once you’ve identified who will be the caregiver(s), communicating this to them is imperative. They’ll need to fully understand the responsibility, and be willing to take it on.
It’s recommended that you identify multiple options for this. Not everyone’s first choice will be willing, and the more you prepare for, the more you’ll be ready for.
2) Life Insurance
Life insurance policies are a great way to ensure that your loved ones are left in a comfortable position should you unfortunately pass. There are a wide variety of policies available, and you can usually find one that suits your unique needs.
When purchasing life insurance, you’ll also need a clear understanding of who will be paid out, and how much. This is an important factor when dividing up who gets what.
3) Determine what you own
When it comes to dealing with what you own, the first step is to create a list of everything that is yours. Afterwards, be absolutely sure that you determine what is actually yours.
From homes to investments to businesses, it’s possible that there are multiple owners and you do not have full control over an item. This also includes ensuring that shares you own in something truly are yours, and are in proper order to be passed on.
4) Assign who will inherit what
The inheritance is often one of the most challenging aspects of planning an estate. First, there is no guarantee that an inheritance will exist. This can vary based on many factors, and the further into the future you attempt to plan it, the more difficult it can become. Second, determining who gets what can be highly emotional, and can have severe positive or negative incomes for those in (or left out of) the inheritance.
Using your list from step 3, clearly determine who will get what. This is up to you, though it will often involve consulting with loved ones. Remember, while you want to be as on-point as possible on your first go, this can be updated as you proceed through life.
5) Create a valid will
A proper will is the engine that allows a smooth estate plan to be built and executed. It brings together many of the factors outlined above, and makes things legal and official.
Wills can be straightforward, or highly complicated depending on the possessions of the creator and how they plan on distributing them. Regardless, it’s of the utmost importance that the will is properly written and signed. The last thing you want is to go to all the trouble of writing a will, and then having it invalidated or delayed for administrative or technical reasons.
Finally, register your will with the Canada Will Registry. This is a great way to ensure that your will is available when needed. That way, it can be executed as you planned it, and your possessions can be distributed as you saw fit.