Sometimes in my line of work, I take it upon myself to be downright annoying. My own clients tell me that the only way they will get something done is if I keep reminding or “nagging” them until they do it. The number one item that I’m constantly nagging people about is to get their Will, Power of Attorney & Representation Agreements set up and in place. While most of us realize how truly important these three documents are, many keep putting this task off for a later date.
Having these documents in place is not going to help you reach any financial goals directly but they’re still an important part of your personal financial well being and are an important part of your overall financial plan. So why is this necessary task being put on hold?
The first reason in my mind is that people just don’t like talking about death. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who first said “The only two things guaranteed in life are death and taxes”. To make the decisions necessary to complete these important documents, you have to face this reality and discuss what will need to be done. If you don’t make these decisions and ensure that they will be known, the court system will make them for you.
The second big objection that I hear from my clients when I ask why this hasn’t been done is that they don’t want (or can’t afford) to spend the money to have these done properly. Many turn to online “will kits” and assume that this should be adequate. The reality is that creating these documents can be quite complex and a trained professional’s insight can be worth their weight in gold here. For example, a do it yourself kit will not discuss the “British Columbia Wills Variation Act” that allows spouses and children to contest your wishes that you have laid out in certain circumstances. Careful planning is also needed for those who have been divorced or remarried – without properly designed documents, an ex-spouse could potentially inherit your entire estate.
Some clients also claim they are procrastinating on this front because they are unable to decide the answer to some of the questions that are being asked. If you truly can’t decide who to name as the guardian for your children or the best executor for your estate, go forward and get the documents drawn up anyways. You can always make adjustments down the road without having to redo the whole thing.
Having proper estate planning documents will greatly reduce the work and stress placed on your loved ones in an already emotional time. If after reading all of this, you still feel that you don’t want to bother with a Will, Power of Attorney & a Representation Agreement, you at least owe it to yourself and your family to find out what happens if you don’t have these documents. A quick Google search will show thousands of articles on “dying without a will in British Columbia”. Similar information is also available on what happens if you’re no longer able to make medical or financial decisions.
As I mentioned above, these documents form an important part of your overall financial plan and should not be overlooked any longer. The time to stop procrastinating has come – speak to your lawyer today and set up an appointment to create or review your plans. If you’re not sure who to talk to, send me an email and we can point you in the right direction.
Give me a call if you need assistance.