Why People Avoid Will Preparation
Many of us create a host of reasons to avoid Will preparation. Here are some of the most common excuses people use for not making a Will and what you can do to overcome them.
- Belief that it’s something you “should” do
This leads to resistance. Typically, when people feel they “have” to do something, the opposite occurs, and they avoid it. It’s often the same with creating a Will. If you know you should do one, you put pressure on yourself to do it. But that pressure can be what drives you to not do it. So, what do you do? Enlist others to help you get your thoughts down. It will probably never be a fun exercise but it is one that does create a sense of relief. It is a bit like buying a security system. How many of us have made the purchase when a neighbour has been vandalized? Yet when guided by a skilled lawyer you can actually learn a lot about Estate Planning and things to do as you acquire assets to protect your family.
- Uncomfortable telling strangers’ personal details
Many people are reluctant to discuss their personal affairs with strangers and, thinking their only option to do a Will is with an Attorney, they avoid it. It may surprise you that the information needed to prepare a Will is not the specifics about how much money you have or how big your mortgage is. To prepare your Will we need to know if you have savings but not how significant they are, Estate planning and Will preparation is a process to help to remind you to have beneficiaries and to help you find ways to avoid Probate Fees and taxes; not at all to judge your wealth planning strategies and success.
- Not ready to make important life decisions
If you think your Will has to be the “be all end all” document and you’re just not ready to make such huge and overwhelming decisions, think again. A Will is something you create for right now—not for some nebulous time in the future—it is about what you currently have, what your thoughts are for giving them away, and who you know now that you would like to give them to. Next year, all that can change. Wills are generally prepared and updated every 3-5 years. Life happens – you buy a new home, get married, have children, your Executor might move out of province, any number of changes that can impact your Will. Changes are simple to make once you have the draft plan in place.
- “Ignorance is Bliss” Are you unaware of the consequences of not having a Will?
Most often, those that don’t do their Wills simply aren’t aware of what they’re missing. Without a Will, you can leave your family in a financial mess. You may pay Probate Fees and taxes that are unnecessary, and the Government can step in, and your wishes will follow a set format defined by Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act which sets out how the Estate is distributed. Not only can this hurt your family financially it can cause emotional strife to all involved.
- Avoiding dealing with family issues
Not wanting to deal with family issues is a big reason a lot of people don’t do their Wills. Yet your choice to not deal with the issue means the family ultimately will have to deal with conflicts that can be long lasting, emotionally painful and financially costly.
- Disagreement between spouses or partners about having a Will
Sometimes partners—whether married or not—can disagree on the importance of a Will. That’s normal. Spouses or partners don’t have to agree on their Wills or do it together. Just getting one Will done helps. For unmarried partners, a Will is just as important—if not more important—as the law doesn’t provide the same protections for unmarried couples as for married couples. This is particularly important if you have partnered with someone that has been married before. You may find yourself co-owning a property with an EX-spouse.
- Belief that it takes too much effort
If something is worthwhile it may take a little effort but how much effort is a matter of degree. Having a lawyer guide you through the process and explain all the legal-speak may help you understand the complexity and length of the document. Really there are probably 4-5 pages that have content you need to understand; the balance of the document is prepared for you and your family’s protection.
- Not sure where to start
Not knowing how to start. There is any number of ways to start—it all boils down to taking that first step. Attached is a short version of all the key information you need to prepare a Will; Estate Planning Guide. Once you review it you might then realize it does not require financial expertise or great wealth to need, prepare and execute a Will.
- You think that young people don’t need Wills
Just like their 40–70-something counterparts, 20–30-somethings benefit from having a Will. In today’s market, you might own a condo and in a place like Toronto that can be a million-dollar asset. Also, not having a Will for 20- 30-year old’s means your family has no idea if you have insurance, benefits, or if they can have access to bank accounts. Take a page out of Scotia Bank’s advertising “you are richer than you think”.
- Belief that only wealthy people need Wills
The idea that only wealthy people need Wills is simply not true. Everyone needs a Will, whether you’re old, young, rich, poor, male, female, married, single, childless or you have children. Try and view a Will as a life planning document. Once you do one you probably experience a learning curve that opens you to reviewing decisions you are making in other areas of your life. It is viewed as a Smart thing to do and something we can help you with at SmartWills.ca
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.