Making arrangements for one’s mortality isn’t an exercise that often makes it to the top of the to-do list when it comes to planning, but it should be, especially for those starting a family or those in retirement.
Having a properly drafted will is essential to ensure your wishes are fulfilled, since not having one can expose your family to a whole bunch of risks, such as allowing the government and legal system to decide who gets what.
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A will should be updated following major life events as well as reviewed every three years to ensure it is current. For example, legislation may have changed since the will was drafted. Income tax act changes are quite common and can be significant.
It is equally important to use a lawyer who specializes in wills and estates in order to avoid any mistakes or nasty surprises. That said, financial planners, such as those with a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) designation, can often assist by drafting up some ideas ahead of a meeting with legal counsel, which could save you time and money by doing the upfront preparation work.