Remember, Estate Planning Isn’t Just for Old People

A near-universal assumption seems to be that estate planning is only necessary if you’re old and / or wealthy.  You’re young, still working for a living, and have a long way to go before you need to think about the distribution of your assets, right?

Hopefully that will turn out to be the case, but the reality is that we can’t see the future. Something could happen tomorrow that hampers our ability to make medical decisions or even manage our assets. Younger people also have children, and planning for their future well-being is especially important.

Wills

A 2012 survey suggested that 88% of Canadian adults in the 27-34 age group did not have a will. Yet this tends to be a period in our lives when we are starting families, purchasing real estate, and acquiring some net worth.

If you die without a will, the government legislates who gets your assets and appoints guardians for minor children in accordance with Provincial rules. To protect your children and ensure that your estate is divided the way you wish, spend the time and money to draw up a will.

Personal Care Directive

A personal care directive (PCD), otherwise known as a living will, lets you appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. It is their responsibility to ensure that your health care wishes are carried out (e.g. you want to be taken off life support if brain death occurs).

Your PCD agent may be entrusted to make decisions about anything that is not financially related, such as who takes care of your children, where you live, and how non-legal matters are carried out. This person is particularly important given the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on euthanasia. When the person you select is someone you trust to honour your wishes, you can rest easier about the future.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Enduring power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make financial decisions and handle your assets if you are incapacitated. The person you select can pay your bills, deal with the government, investment firms, and pension providers on your behalf, and in general protect the financial stability of your estate for your children and any other beneficiaries. You can decide whether the power of attorney becomes effective when a certain event occurs (e.g. you slip into a coma) or when you sign the document.

Thinking about estate planning can be daunting when you’re just getting started in life, but doing some estate planning while you’re still young will result in peace of mind you will appreciate at any age.

For assistance in putting together an estate plan that meets your ongoing needs, contact us at Estate Connection today. We will help you prepare for the future so you can rest easy in the present.

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Written by Stacy Maurier