As an estate planning lawyer in Cornwall, Ontario, I commonly see people who understand the importance of the initial estate planning, but then forget that they need to keep their wills and trusts up-to-date. These documents aren’t something that should just be done once and then tucked into a safety deposit box never to be visited again. Actually, there are several times in the course of your life that you need to dig out your wills and make changes.
- Marriage – Obviously, when you get married, you will have a new spouse to consider when it comes to things like inheritance, and powers of attorney. Also, in Ontario, marriage revokes any existing will, so once you marry, your will is invalid.
- Divorce/Separation – If you don’t relish the thought of your ex receiving your estate, or making decisions about your estate you may want to meet up with your estate planning lawyer to make some changes. Separation does not amend your estate planning documents, only a legal divorce does, and even then, your documents would be read as if your divorced spouse passed away before you.
- Children – The addition of a child should trigger a need to reevaluate your will and other documents. Estate planning is often thought of as a way to care for your children after your death, and that can only be done if you keep your documents current with the addition of each child.
- Purchases – If you acquire new assets, whether in the form of real estate or something else of value, you will want to call your estate planning lawyer to be sure it is covered in your will.
- Health – You may find that certain health conditions cause you to reconsider the wishes outlined in your living will and Power of Attorney for Personal Care. This ensures that your loved ones and healthcare providers are apprised of your decisions.
- Insurance – Over the course of your insurance policy’s life, you may find that you want to change the terms, such as the type of coverage you have or the beneficiaries of your policy. When changes like this occur, it is important to have an estate planning lawyer reflect that in your legal documents or ensure these changes are consistent with your overall plan.
A reputable estate planning lawyer will be current on federal and provincial laws and will be able to guide you as you keep your wills up-to-date. This protects you and your beneficiaries and can actually keep your will from being invalidated after your death.
So if it’s been awhile since you’ve updated your estate plan, I invite you to give our office a call and schedule a complimentary Peace of Mind Planning Session to have your documents reviewed ($500 value). Simply call 613-933-7720 to get started. Or, if you prefer to book an appointment right now, click here.