Preparing a Will may be the most important legacy you leave. Here are some tips to get you started.
Neglecting to make a Will, or to keep it updated, is a common financial mistake — and thankfully easily remedied.
During “Make a Will month” in November, 70 percent of respondents to an RBC survey said they don’t have an up-to-date Will.
“This is not surprising,” says Elaine Blades, a senior manager with the professional practice group at RBC Royal Trust. “We see surveys that consistently show over half of adults do not have a signed Will.”
Among the top reasons given for not having an up-to-date Will were: “I don’t know where to start,” “I don’t have the time,” and, “It’s too much effort.”
“We often hear that it feels like a complicated process, so people delay making a Will,” says Blades. “It’s often why people look for an estate planner. Helping to uncomplicate matters is core to what we do at RBC Royal Trust.”
“Failing to create a valid Will eliminates your ability to control who inherits your estate, and when,” says Leanne Kaufman, head of RBC Royal Trust and president and CEO of The Royal Trust Company. “Perhaps more importantly though, it shifts the burden of responsibility from you to those you are leaving behind — a responsibility to organize your affairs because for whatever reason you did not.”
Most people prefer to make their own decisions, particularly those that impact their family members. If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed based on a standardized formula established by the law in your province, says Bianca Krueger, a Will and estate advisor with RBC Wealth Management Royal Trust.
Here are some key reasons for having a Will:
Preparing your first Will is an essential estate planning tool, but you should also review your Will whenever you experience a significant life event, such as getting married, separated or divorced; having a child, winning the lottery or starting a business, says Blades. It’s best to review your Will every few years to make sure it continues to express your wishes.
“Preparing your first Will is a big step,” says Blades. “It will take time and thoughtful consideration to prepare this important document, but it will save money and grief down the road.”
In fact, Blades asserts, preparing a Will may be the most important legacy you leave.
In Quebec, “liquidator”, in Ontario, “estate trustee with a Will.” Probate is not required for notarial Wills in Quebec, and may not be required in other jurisdictions in limited circumstances.
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In Quebec, financial planning services are provided by RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. which is licensed as a financial services firm in that province. In the rest of Canada, financial planning services are available through RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
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