The young and the will-less


Lynne Butler, who blogs at Estate Law Canada, wrote an article in the Globe and Mail last week about estate planning for twenty- and thirtysomethings. She writes about the fact that most people think that estate planning is something to do later in life; in my own practice, I find it relatively rare to see a younger client making the decision to have wills prepared. As Lynne notes, however, the problems associated with intestacy don’t wait until retirement. If you have young children, it is particularly important to have a will drafted. You want to not only have a say in who the guardian of your children will be (especially if you have particular religious or cultural beliefs and want your children raised in a certain tradition), but also to make certain that their inheritance is placed in trust so that the money will be managed prudently and stay accessible, and so that you can control when your children will fully inherit. Even if you don’t have children, you will make a difficult situation far easier on your family if you have a will drafted to deal with any major assets. I always advise my clients that it’s time to have a will drafted once they have either children or assets, whether that is at age 40 or age 20. When you start living like an adult, it is time to start planning like one.