Many young Canadians may feel like they’re broke and several decades away from dying. They think the last thing they need is an estate plan. After all, they’re very healthy and their parents are still relatively young and doing well. If the worst was to happen, their parents would take care of things. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple.
Who Is Making the Decisions. Let’s say you take the reading week off from your studies to go skiing with your friends in the rockies. You hit a jump wrong, and you’re knocked out and suffer a coma. Your fiancé is fantastic, but they’re also really into pseudo-medicine, so they decide to treat your coma with maple syrup instead of allowing your doctors to treat you. Your parents may want to intervene, but if you haven’t named them as power of attorney in your estate plan, then the decision will likely fall first to your partner.
When you haven’t named a person to be in charge, the courts will be left to decide who can make medical decisions on your behalf. You may not like their choice, but you won’t be able to argue.
Similarly, if you have no partner and your parents are divorced and fight constantly, you may want to choose to name the one whose view on medicine and intervention line up mostly closely to your own.
Laying a Strong Foundation. One of the best reasons to start your estate plan young is that you have to deal with fewer choices. You have an opportunity to start laying a strong foundation for your personalized estate plan, but you don’t need to worry about being overwhelmed by a million decisions. The groundwork you’ve created will serve as a starting place as you get married, have children, and begin acquiring valuable assets.
Take Care of Your Loved Ones. Your assets may be meager, but they’re still something. If you have a job, there may be some contributions to the Canadian pension plan for you or even a life insurance payout. It’s important that you name a beneficiary for all these accounts. This is especially true if you have a long-term partner whom you’re not married to. It may be obvious to you, that your girlfriend should inherit the $5000 in your savings account, but without a will, it’s more likely the courts will award it to your parents — even if you never talk to them. Similarly, if you have any animals under your care, you should specify who is responsible for their care. That way your strictly-indoor-cat doesn’t end up living in a barn on your uncle’s farm waiting for a coyote to find her.
At MacMillan Estate Planning, we encourage all Canadians to deeply consider their estate plan. It’s never too early to clearly communicate what you want done with your assets, but it’s often too late. The experts at MacMillan Estate Planning can help you find the tools best suited to your particular needs. Call us today.