Most Canadians hold some sort of investment. If you’ve purchased a property, a car, or made a financial investment (like with addy!) – you have an investment! For many of us, we’ve worked really hard to acquire these investments and want to ensure they’re protected. When we think of protecting them, many of us immediately think of things like insurance or emergency savings. Despite often being overlooked, one of the best ways to protect your investment is through estate planning! In fact, while almost everyone needs a will, over 57% of Canadians don’t have one.
Whether it’s property or a financial investment, you might be surprised at how making your will and power of attorney documents can not only protect your investments but also bring you some extra peace of mind.
What Is A Will?
Your Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines how you wish to distribute your assets such as money, property, or care of minor children after you die. Your will is also where you name your executor who will be in charge of settling your affairs on your behalf.
How Does A Will Protect My Investments?
Your will ensures that there is a solid plan for your investments in the event of your death. So what happens if you don’t have a will? If you die without a will, you’re considered to have died ‘intestate.’ A common myth is that if you die intestate, the government gets all your stuff. This is not true! But what actually happens to your assets can depend on a number of factors.
When you pass away, anything you own (including assets and investments) and any debts you owe become part of your estate. If you have a will, your estate is distributed based on what you have outlined. Otherwise, your assets are distributed according to the default rules in your province. These can vary from province to province and often will be very different from what you would have wanted. In addition, having a will can make the process of probating a will easier for your loved ones. This will ensure your beneficiaries will receive your assets sooner rather than later.
With some investments and financial assets, like life insurance and RRSPs, you may have designated a beneficiary through the point of investment. Those assets will be allocated based on the rules of your investment rather than your will. If you’re uncertain about the rules of succession, it’s always best to contact your point of investment.
What Is A Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) document allows you to appoint an “attorney” to help take care of your property, finances, personal life, and medical care in the event that you are unable to manage them yourself. (Note that “attorney” does not mean “lawyer” it just refers to someone you have preselected to act on your behalf – they are also known as a “representative” or “agent”)
When it comes to things such as property and investments, you’ll want to appoint a power of attorney for property. The person appointed in your POA for property can help you take care of things such as paying your bills, managing your investments (like addy), and collecting any money owed to you. Having a POA will ensure that your bills are paid on time and that your affairs are being maintained, so nothing falls behind while you are if you are medically unable to do so yourself.
It’s important to make POA decisions sooner rather than later. You’ll want to make sure you’ve had time to ensure the person you have chosen is not only up to the task but that they clearly understand your wishes.
How Can I Easily Create My Will and Power of Attorney Documents?
Despite what many people think, making a will doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or include a trip to the lawyer’s office. There are many ways to make your will and power of attorney documents. The way dddy makes it simple to invest in property, platforms like Willful make it easy to make a legal will online.
The Key Takeaway
While it may be unpleasant to think about your death, it’s important to make plans to protect your investments and assets in the event of your unexpected death. Not only will you know that your investments are taken care of in the event you are unable to, you’ll ensure that those investments end up in the right hands even when you’re gone.
This post was provided by our friends at Willful! An online estate planning platform that makes it affordable, easy, and convenient to create your will and power of attorney documents online in less than 20 minutes. Learn more about Willful here.
The material provided above is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.