HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REVIEW YOUR WILL….

Before even asking this question, it is important to ensure that you also have in place a Power of Attorney and a Representation Agreement for personal healthcare matters as these two documents will ensure that someone can make legal, financial, and personal care decisions for you in the event you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated by reason of accident or illness. 

When considering what to put into your Will, Power of Attorney, and Representation Agreement, Andrew Rebane will customize each of these documents to develop a comprehensive and workable estate plan for you.   

All three planning documents should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they continue to reflect your family and financial situation. The following are some life events that may trigger the need to review your plan with Andrew Rebane:

1. Marriage

Upon marrying for a second time, your new spouse will be competing with your children for a share of your estate.  You need to consider who among your new spouse and children do you wish to inherit your estate and how much.  Also, your stepchildren no matter how much you love them will not inherit anything from you unless you do a new Will naming them as beneficiaries. 

2. Termination of Marital Relationship by reason of Death or Separation

Upon separating from your spouse or death of a spouse, you will usually need to amend your estate plan by removing your spouse as the Executor under your Will, the Attorney under your Power of Attorney, and the Representative under your Representation Agreement governing your personal healthcare. 

3. Substantial Change in Asset Holdings

Whenever you buy or sell real estate or come into a windfall by reason of an investment or inheritance then it is prudent to review your Will particularly as the value of gifts made under the terms of the Will may be impacted greatly by such events in your life.  Acquisition of real estate outside of British Columbia ought to trigger a Will review.  Similarly, if you buy a business or already own a business and sell a portion of it to another so as to take on a fellow shareholder/partner, your Will ought to be reviewed.

4. Birth of a Child

When you add a child to your life whether through natural birth, adoption or a step-child through marriage, you need to review your Will and update it to include the nomination of a guardian for that biological or adopted child.  You may also want to ensure that any bequests to a child are gifted through a testamentary trust so as to ensure the child does not come into a large sum of money at the age of 19.   

5. Change in circumstances of your choice of executor, attorney or representative

The personal or financial health of your chosen executors, guardians, attorneys and representatives may change over time and such changes may make your choice of executors and guardians no longer appropriate.  Bankruptcy may prevent an attorney from acting; alcoholism & the accompanying financial irresponsibility may make your good friend no longer appropriate choice as executor and declining health of a representative may make him or her no longer able to make decisions about your personal healthcare. 

6. Unexpected illness or disability of a beneficiary

In the event one of your children or grandchildren loses capacity or develops an addiction issue, your Will ought to be reviewed because such a beneficiary may lose entitlement to a government income supplement based on needs or may squander the inheritance. 

7. Medical Diagnosis of Impending Incapacity

If a doctor has diagnosed you with a medical condition that will render you mentally incapacitated, it is important that you review your Will, Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement for personal healthcare as you may have had these documents originally prepared with the idea that these documents would not come into use until many years into the future. 

8. Death of a Spouse or Beneficiary

Upon the death of a spouse, child, grandchild or other beneficiary, a review of your Will is in order as you want to make sure that your Will distributes the assets in accordance with your wishes as you may wish a deceased child’s children to inherit a portion of your estate OR you may prefer that your other children share that portion of your estate.

9. Moving to Another Province or Country

Upon moving to a new province or out of country, it is critical for your Will, Power of Attorney, and Representation Agreement to be reviewed by a lawyer in the jurisdiction to which you are moving because every province and country has its own set of laws governing the preparation of Wills, Powers of Attorneys, and documents governing healthcare in the event of capacity.  Similarly, each jurisdiction has its own statutory regime governing the distribution of estates upon death and applicable taxes upon death.

10. Passage of Time

As the list above is by no means exhaustive and you do not see any event in your life falling within this list, you should be reviewing your Will, Power of Attorney, and Representation Agreement for personal healthcare every 3-5 years. 

If you or a loved one wishes to review his or her Will, Power of Attorney or Representation Agreement for personal healthcare or worst yet does not have any of these estate planning documents in place consult Vancouver/Burnaby wills & estates lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, located near East Vancouver and in Burnaby, British Columbia, Email: andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107