11.4.2 If you don't plan

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Many estate planning issues are complex, and they must follow the laws of the province or territory in which you live, or where the property exists. If you don't plan correctly:

  • You lose control. The government will name someone to decide what happens to your savings and property. This person may also decide who will raise your children.
  • Less money may go to your loved ones. Without planning, it may cost more to settle your estate, especially if you have savings and property. Your survivors may pay more in taxes and estate fees than they would have.
  • It may take longer to settle your estate. It may be costly and stressful for your survivors to get the money or property you intended to leave them.
  • If you have an old will, your wishes today may be ignored. If your will is out of date, even by just a few years, a lot of things could have changed. Your will might even be challenged.
  • A family conflict could begin. If you don't make a clear plan in a will and other provisions, your loved ones won't know what you want. For example, the simple phrase in a will, "I want my children to share my money equally," can mean many different things, which could lead to arguments within your family.

Estate planning is for your loved ones and for your own peace of mind. It helps avoid a lot of trouble and costs for your survivors at a very difficult time. Even if you don't have a lot of savings or property, it's still important to have a plan.

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