A Will gives you peace of mind and control over what happens to your assets after death. There are serious consequences if you die without a will in BC. While there is no question that a will is vital to any estate plan, there is more to consider when it comes to estate planning.
A will is one part of a solid estate plan
A well-drafted, up-to-date will is the cornerstone of your estate plan. However, there are certain issues that a will simply cannot address, or that may be better managed outside of your Will. Consider this:
- A will is not effective until your death. A critical component of estate planning is preparing for the event that you become incapacitated during your lifetime. If you want to authorize the person of your choice to act on your behalf should you lose capacity due to an accident or failing health, you must have a Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement in place.
- Some of your assets may pass outside of the estate. Do you have a joint bank account with your spouse or parent? Own a house, cottage, or rental property with others?
- Generally speaking, a will does not deal with property you own in “joint tenancy” as your interest automatically passes to the surviving joint owner on your death.
- Conversely, if you own property as “tenants-in-common” with another owner, your share does not automatically pass to the other owner; you can leave your share of the property to whomever you choose in your will.
There can be significant advantages (e.g., tax savings and avoidance of probate) if property is transferred to joint tenancy during your lifetime. Still, there are also risks to this form of ownership. Talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer for advice.
- If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, a will is not a substitute for comprehensive succession planning. Will your business continue after your retirement or death? Do you want your children or other family members to inherit your business? There are options to structure your business so that it is easier to transfer its assets.
- Assets located in a foreign country require specialized estate planning. If you have business or personal holdings in another jurisdiction, your estate planning will be more complicated and you should get advice from an estate planning lawyer. Options include executing a separate will in each country where you own property (each dealing only with the property located in that country) or registering foreign property in joint names with your intended beneficiary.
A well-thought-out estate plan is essential, and it is easier than you think to get your plan in place. Contact the experienced estate planning lawyers at Invicta Law today.