Is your will up to date?

Key questions to consider as you create your estate plan

An effective estate plan should be up-to-date and clearly lay out your wishes upon your passing. But odds are, you don’t have one. In fact a recent report indicates half of Canadians surveyed say they don’t have a will – and many of those who do haven’t updated it in years . 

This may be a good time to consider what will happen to your assets once you have passed,and make sure you have plans in place to ensure your estate passes to your intended beneficiaries.

What should a will look like?

Your wishes should be fully documented in a legally valid will to ensure they can be acted upon. If you don’t have a will, provincial legislation will determine who your beneficiaries will be and what they are entitled to, and this may not match your wishes.

Here are some things to consider when reviewing or creating your will:

  • Who have you named as the primary executor and estate trustee?
  • Do they reside in the same province as you?
  • Are they capable of handling the demanding task of acting in the role of executor?
  • Have you named an alternate if the primary executor is unable to act due to illness or prior death?
  • Are the designated beneficiaries of your life insurance and registered investment accounts (i.e. RRSP, RRIF, LIRA) consistent with your current wishes? Have you been careful not to name persons under the age of majority?
  • Have you provided enough administrative powers for your executor and trustee to administer your estate effectively?
  • Does your estate plan achieve your wishes in the most tax-efficient manner?
  • Does your will provide for and consider the needs and care of any minor beneficiaries or other financial dependants?

When is the right time to review my will? 

Creating a will isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ document. Review your will once every five years, or whenever there’s a significant life development (like a marriage, job change or birth of a child). Your intentions and wishes may change as you get older and go through life – your will should reflect that. 

Want to learn more?

Listen to this episode of our Conversations on Wealth podcast: “When should you review your will?

We can help

Want to learn more? Ask us for a copy of the following related resources:

  • Estate Record Keeper 
  • Education articles: 
    • Planning for incapacity 
    • Will planning 
    • Estate planning checklist 

Talk to us today about how you can design a plan that protects your estate, clearly defines your wishes and leaves a lasting legacy.

Contact us

Please note that some information/wording in this article does not apply to Quebec clients.