The holiday season is a good time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the new one. Do you know how to plan for the year ahead?
Weddings, funerals, births, graduations, holidays – being prepared factors into every one of these life stages. Everyone has a story about a relative that died without a Will, leaving the family with extra expenses, aggravation and time spent sorting out the deceased’s estate.
It is a good idea to consider the events of the coming year and be sure you have the appropriate documents and plans in place.
If you have a holiday planned, make sure you have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the return date. Obtain medical insurance that covers you when you travel and make sure you disclose every ailment you have sought medical treatment for in the past 2 years. If you forget to disclose something, it will very likely invalidate your insurance, and if you get hurt or sick while outside of Canada, you will be personally responsible for those medical costs.
If you have a surgery planned, make sure you have a valid Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement and that it is available to the person you have appointed to deal with your financial and legal matters or make your care decisions in the event your recovery does not go as anticipated.
If you are planning to buy or sell a house, make sure you have at least two pieces of government-issued identification with your full legal name as it appears on your land title documents. Not all identification is issued with a full legal name, as often middle names are omitted or just have an initial. Also, if you have been recently married or divorced, you may not have gotten around to changing over all of your identification. Without proper identification, you risk holding up the sale or purchase.
If a new addition to the family is expected in the coming year, either with a wedding, adoption, or a birth, it is paramount to ensure that your Will reflects those changes. Having an up to date Will is the best way to protect your family from additional hardship if you were to die unexpectedly.
A prepaid estate planning package from a local law firm is an appropriate and practical wedding or baby shower gift. With the added responsibilities and expenses that a new family must deal with, it takes one thing off their list of things to plan and prepare for.
Not all of life can go as we plan, but with a little forethought and planning, the unexpected events can be more manageable and less uncertain.