What motivates you to get going?
Sometimes the weather gets us down and sometimes it’s our attitude. Sometimes you need a little help to get started.
My approach looks at advantages. I motivate people to focus on the advantages they want. You may find this works for you as well.
Charles B. needed help. He lost his wife and tennis partner of 39 years. He was, very understandably, sad. He was not motivated to tackle anything, let alone an update to his estate plan.
“It’s too depressing to think about.” Charles said.
“Well Charles,” I said, “Try something different. Let’s look at the advantages. Tell me what you want to do for your family and I’ll help you get started.”
Estate Planning Goals
Which advantages would you (and Charles) want to enjoy?
- Save money on taxes – less of your money is spent paying too much in taxes.
- Place the right person in charge – you need to trust someone to carry out your wishes. This ensures the jobs you need done are done right.
- Protect young people – make sure you set up a trust to help secure the future for young people.
- Reduce the costs of probate – without an up-to-date will your family may be forced into a court battle.
- Avoid family disagreements among family members – help minimize the risk of this happening by spelling out your wishes.
- Support your favourite charitable causes – continue to make a difference after you’re gone. Giving a gift to charity in your will can also help reduce taxes.
“Can I have more than one goal?” Charles asked.
“Certainly. You can choose a couple.” I said. “We can create an estate plan to meet your wishes and goals. A cornerstone to your estate plan is making your will. Without a will to reflect your goals, there’s bound to be disagreement.”
“My family gets along. I don’t think we need to worry about that.” Charles said.
“Perhaps not,” I said. “But you do need a will to specify your wishes. Your executor carries out your wishes. You need to choose your executor.”
I told Charles I have seen too many situations where children say:
- “My father wanted me to be in charge”;
- “I’m the oldest so it is my job and duty”; and
- “Dad told me what he wanted”.
So, why leave things to chance?
If you do not have a will, the government writes one for you. The government is not interested in minimizing your taxes. They have inflexible rules that do not respect your family’s special needs. These rules can add years to the process of probating your estate.
Years of your hard work, investing your assets and saving money can be squandered by that process. Beneficiaries may have to wait years after you’re gone to receive the full benefit of your estate.
An estate plan can reduce taxes, continue your charitable works and even protect your pets.
Your family can struggle after you are gone.
But they do not have to.
Give your family all the advantages you can with a professionally-prepared estate plan.
Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, and C.S.) is an Ontario lawyer, nationally recognized author and estate expert (MrWills.com). He is a Toronto based Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu: Master Any Estates in Three Easy Steps. © 2014