While much of the estate planning advice available today focuses on finances, there is a lot more to legacy planning than just passing along a house or some bank accounts. Legacy planning can often go beyond the financial and legal aspects of drafting wills and naming executors. Here are some of the things British Columbia adults should consider while making a plan for the future of their family.
Mom is showing her age, becoming more frail and not as with it as she used to be. Your brother has returned home to live with mom or has never left home. He doesn't work or works very little. Mom seems to rely on him quite a bit. When you phone your mom, brother answers and makes excuses as to why mom can't talk to you. Mom is hospitalized and brother is named as her representative. You want to visit but brother tells staff not to allow it. Mom deteriorates and dies. You then find out that mom's house and bank accounts were in joint tenancy with brother and since her death, he has had them transferred into his name only. Also, mom has changed her will to make your brother the sole beneficiary.
There are a number of things to consider when drafting an estate plan. It is not uncommon for people to become overwhelmed by the process and wonder if they are doing things wrong. Fortunately, legal counsel can typically spot and fix any issues in British Columbia wills as long as they are caught in time. Here are two of the most common mistakes professionals encounter when it comes to wills and estates.
There are many legal complexities to estate planning and preparing a will. However, before digging into details and exceptions under British Columbia law, it is a good idea for individuals to understand the two central documents needed for a plan. Wills and powers of attorney are the two cornerstones of estate planning. To be valid, both documents should be drafted by a competent adult with the support of an attorney.
Most people assume that an ex-spouse will have no right to their estate once a divorce is finalized, but this is not always the case. Depending on the separation agreement, a spouse may be able to make a claim support on assets from their former partner's estate. It is a good idea for British Columbia individuals to clarify how estates will be handled when drafting a separation agreement and to update wills to reflect the new arrangement.
No one enjoys thinking about their death, but it might be more necessary than you think. Have you thought about what will happen to your family after you are no longer there to provide for them? Do you know how your estate and assets will be distributed among your family? Do you know who will make important decisions about you and your family when you no longer can?