There are many misconceptions about estate planning, especially amongst younger people or those with less assets. One such misconception is that a will is the only document needed to complete a plan for what happens after one passes. Another is that estate planning is an activity for older adults. In fact, there are multiple documents involved in an Ontario estate plan, and considering certain decisions even at a young age can help ease estate administration should someone pass away suddenly.
Those who are college-aged may think their limited assets preclude them from estate planning. However, some end-of-life decisions are important regardless of net worth. For example, naming a power of attorney for both health care and finances is critical to prevent significant hardship should one become incapacitated, for example in an accident. Once an adult, an individual can name whoever he or she would like to make these important decisions. This choice, and the need to legally verify it, should be considered by all adults in Ontario, even those who are younger.
Younger people should also clarify with their banks who should receive the assets within their accounts should they pass away suddenly. Wills can be used to divide up anything remaining, including debts that might exist from school or other early investments. Finally, funeral plans and life insurance should be considered. Although it is less likely for younger people to pass away, preparing for this potentiality can ease the difficulties for a family following such a tragedy.
As people age, the complexity of their wealth and the people involved in their estate plan can shift and expand. Spouses and children will often be considered in estate plans further down the line. Keeping plans up to date is therefore important to make estate administration as straightforward as possible for those left behind. Those who are responsible for administering an estate can benefit from legal support to understand their obligations under Ontario law.