When should you review and update your Will?
Having a Will is one of the most important things you can do to protect you and your family. Once your Will is drafted, signed and put in a safe place, don’t be tempted to consider it complete. Despite a Will having no expiration date, it should be reviewed, and if applicable, updated, every few years or after each significant life event.
Significant life events generally fall into three categories; people, finances, and personal priorities and may include the following:
- Birth of a child or grandchild.
- Passing of a loved one, including your spouse, child, grandchild or other named beneficiaries.
- Changes in your marital status, including a new marriage or common-law relationship, a separation or a divorce.
- Changes with your chosen executor(s) including their passing or their willingness and ability to undertake their role.
- Changes relating to your beneficiaries including: adding or removing beneficiaries; beneficiaries having reached the age of majority; or establishing trusts for beneficiaries that may have developed addictions or other physical and mental health issues.
- Acquired or disposed of significant assets such as real estate, investments or meaningful personal items.
- Started a new business or sold an established business.
- Desire to establish a charitable foundation or to make a significant donation.
- Changes to your final wishes, such as a certain type of memorial service or your choice for final internment.
Reviewing your Will ensures that changes in your personal situation and priorities are reflected in either a codicil to your existing Will or in a new Will. If you haven’t experienced any significant life events in the past few years, it’s still a good practice to review your Will as laws differ between provinces and change over time. As an example, on March 31, 2014 British Columbia’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”) came into force creating major changes in how Wills are drafted, and estates are distributed.
Estate planning is an important consideration for all of us and, given the current environment, has become a priority for many of our clients. If you do not have a Will or your Will needs to be reviewed and updated, we can help. Milestone Real Estate Lawyers has years of experience in drafting Wills so that your children will have the guardians you have chosen, and your assets go where you want them to go and not where a government statute says they will go.
We are open and have adapted our practices to ensure continued support for our clients. If you would like more information please call us at 778-726-0199 and press 4 for our Wills and Estate Team or complete the Milestone Real Estate Lawyer Contact Form.