As your business and family grow, it’s advised that you update the terms of your will
Estate-planning experts suggest you examine both your plan and documents and update when needed to reflect new dynamics
Life seems to offer more opportunities for professional and personal evolvement than ever before, and with that comes the need to protect your growing assets. It’s wise to have a proper will in place, but it’s even more important to occasionally revisit it.
That’s one of the many messages about estate planning delivered by Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP, which is in the process of creating a practice group dedicated solely to estate planning, due to the volume of work the law firm is experiencing in this sector.
It’s also a message that partner Alana Dale-Johnson finds herself frequently impressing upon clients. “Many people tend to think that once you’ve made your will, that’s it, you can forget about it and get back to building your career,” she says. “Often they have a will drawn up when they start a family—that seems to be the main impetus. But as your family and your business grow, it’s common that the people and things you value will change over time and your will should reflect that.”
The company’s expertise in estate planning evolved directly from its focus on business, “because we see it as an integral part of taking care of our business clients,” says Dale-Johnson. “Comprehensive estate, tax and retirement planning not only benefits entrepreneurs and their families, but also their companies.”
Dale-Johnson is not surprised that many people, whether intentional or not, consider making a will to be a one-time proposition.
“It’s not exactly a hot-button topic and contemplating one’s mortality can be unpleasant. Plus, so many people are too committed to their work schedules to take time out to sit down with a lawyer.
“But we suggest revisiting your will at least once every five years, or when a significant life event happens such as the birth of a child or if you come into money,” she says.
Another occasion to revisit one’s will is a job or career change. “This is something that happens more often now compared to past generations, and it could change the entire dynamic of your estate,” says Dale-Johnson.
By the fall, Singleton Reynolds will have a dedicated estate planning team. “It’s simply because it’s become a primary area of concern for our clients,” says Dale-Johnson.
As life transitions, priorities and families change. Dale-Johnsons says that failing to plan ahead can have adverse consequences not only for your estate, but your family, which can end up in costly litigation.
“Our team will continue to hammer home the message that as you evolve so, too, should your will. The increasing complexities of wealth accumulation in Canada today demand that you be more proactive.”
Alana Dale-Johnson is the Chair of the Wills and Estates Practice Group at Singleton Reynolds. Contact her at 604-673-7404 or at singleton.com