By Josh Sheluk, April 19, 2021
Pop legend Prince passed away in 2016 at the young age of 57. Despite fame, fortune, a wardrobe filled with raspberry berets, and a lineup of royalty-generating music, the man made a critical mistake that too many Canadians seem intent on copying – he didn’t have a will.
An Angus Reid Institute poll finds that 51% of Canadians do not have a will, while only 35% have one that is up to date. If you want to mimic Prince’s fabulous personal style, that’s one thing; but following in his footsteps by dying without a will is not something we recommend.
A single father has two minor children. He has a well-paying job and has accumulated assets: an RRSP, a TFSA, and the family home. He also has a life insurance policy that would pay out upon his death. He would like to have the assets managed professionally for his children until their 25th birthdays.
A married couple has two young children. They have some debt but do not have much in the way of savings. There is a modest life insurance policy through the wife’s employer, but with the absence of personal wealth and with money tight, they are not yet considering creating a will.
Your friend’s mother passes away. Your friend’s half-sisters would like their mother to be buried next to their father, who passed away 50 years ago. Your friend, of course, would like her mother to be buried next to her father, who was the deceased’s current husband of 45 years.
So, should you have an estate plan? The answer, in our experience, is almost certainly “Yes”. And that estate plan should almost certainly include a will, appointment of a power of attorney, and final directive. Not only should you have a plan, you should also revisit it regularly, as it’s likely you’ll change your mind as circumstances change over time.
If you’re having difficulty figuring out where to begin, talking to a professional would be worthwhile. A financial advisor or lawyer who focuses on wills and estates would be a good place to start.
Josh Sheluk, CFA, CFP®, CIM®, is a Portfolio Manager at White LeBlanc Wealth Planners, iA Private Wealth, in Burlington, Ontario.This article is a general discussion of certain issues intended as general information only and should not be relied upon as tax or legal advice. Please obtain independent professional advice, in the context of your particular circumstances. iA Private Wealth Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. iA Private Wealth is a trademark and business name under which iA Private Wealth Inc. operates.