Avoid pre-prepared will kits. It’s not that the wording in those kits is incorrect, but rather it doesn’t fully prepare people for what they may or may not need.
When it comes to our finances, we often complicate matters more than necessary. This is usually inadvertent – we have an intention to make something easy and clear-cut, but end up making it more complicated because we didn’t seek the right advice, or thought we knew more than we really did.
Wills are no different – they can be as straightforward or complicated as we want them to be. But in situations where there are multiple beneficiaries or unique circumstances, getting the right advice at the beginning, as Christine Van Cauwenberghe, Vice-President, Tax & Estate Planning with Investors Group says, is key to reducing headaches down the road.
What makes a will complicated?
The complicated nature of a will often arises due to the structure of the person’s family, as opposed to the makeup of their assets. For example, in a situation where there is a second marriage or a blended family, an individual may want to leave a portion of their estate to children from their first marriage, and another portion to their new spouse.
Other examples include certain beneficiaries residing in a different jurisdiction that contain different tax regulations. Or a beneficiary has a disability and receives social assistance – receiving a lump-sum of money could cut them off from that assistance, so depending upon which province they live in, structuring the will so the inheritance is received in a trust (specifically a Henson trust) can ensure the money is protected while they are still receiving government benefits.