If people take the time to make sure they have the necessary documents in place in the event of death, they should also make sure those documents are legally sound. Many potential headaches can come about for family and friends when estate planning documents aren’t in line with Ontario legalities. There are a number of ways to create havoc with one’s estate plan and it’s wise to be aware of them in order to prevent future issues.
Keep it current
The first potential mistake to avoid is letting an estate plan get so old that information contained in it is no longer valid. An estate plan should be updated as life changes. It should be reviewed about every three years or so. For instance, what if the named executor or a beneficiary has died, what if a spouse has died, what if there has been a divorce or a marriage, or what if children are now a part of the equation? All these can have a significant impact on one’s estate plan.
Keeping poor records
If a testator makes it difficult for an executor to find and organize documents, it could seriously slow the process down and there may be some very disgruntled beneficiaries. If assets and belongings can’t be located, it can be very time-consuming trying to find them. One of the most prudent things a testator can do is to leave detailed directions regarding the whereabouts of everything and names of people he or she has worked with such as lawyers, bankers, financial planners, insurance agents and the like. It is also crucial to leave information regarding online accounts such as passwords.
Furthermore, it’s important to have these documents properly signed and witnessed. Ontario residents who aren’t clear which documents are necessary to include in an adequate estate plan could benefit from the advice of an experienced lawyer. This can be an ideal way in which to ensure everything ultimately plays out according to a testator’s wishes.