You have a future plan in place and have all your ducks in a row: life insurance, investments, a Will. But now you have adult children who aren’t quite as prepared. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone.
A startling 88% of millennials don’t have a Will in place. Many don’t think it’s as essential as it really is, and others just feel like they can ‘get to it later.’ It can be hard to communicate the importance of end-of-life and estate planning when talking to younger generations who may feel like they still have all the time in the world.
Here is a guide of talking points to help you work through the three most common objections to making a Will. Hopefully, making these conversations more accessible will make the idea of end-of-life and estate planning feel more relevant and approachable to your millennial children.
Objection #1: I’m too young to have a Will
Counterpoint: Every Canadian adult needs a Will. Full stop. Getting a Will started as soon as possible is a very healthy life practice. After all, it can’t HURT to have one; however, the drawbacks to dying without a Will are many.
“Many people think they might not need one because they're too young or they don't have enough stuff,” Arin Klug, Co-founder and COO of Epilogue explains, “but the grim reality is that dying without a Will–or becoming incapacitated due to an unforeseen accident–can leave your loved ones not only grieving but also shouldering legal battles, costs, and having to make difficult decisions."
The legal age to make a Will varies across provinces from as young as 16 in British Columbia to as old as 19 in New Brunswick and the northern territories.
When it comes to making a Will, it’s never too early. Wills are a safety net, and life is unpredictable (if 2020 has taught us anything!). A Will should change over time, just as life does. It should be a living, breathing document that evolves as you grow.
Objection #2: I don’t have enough stuff to make a Will
Counterpoint: Making a Will isn’t about what you have; it’s about who you love.
Another great way to explain the importance of aging & end-of-life planning to younger generations is to explain the idea that it’s not about having “stuff” and bags of money. Having a Will is really about protecting your loved ones and giving yourself the peace-of-mind knowing they are protected.
23% of Canadians who don’t have a Will say it’s because they don’t have enough assets to make Will-writing worthwhile.This is a misguided conception. Having a Will in place lets you select people for critical roles and make big decisions in advance to alleviate a lot of stress and burden from your family’s shoulders.
● You get to decide how your estate is distributed instead of leaving it up to the laws of the province, which can lead to family disputes and hurt feelings.
● You can choose a guardian to care for your children if you pass away while still young.
● You can appoint an executor to wrap up all your affairs (more on that later) and potentially avoid making someone apply to be your estate trustee.
● Your family will be grieving you rloss. Making some important decisions before you pass away takes a huge burden off your family’s shoulders.
Having a Will lets you appoint an executor
Without a Will, you can’t appoint an executor. An executor is a trusted friend or family member who has the legal right to control all your assets after you’re gone (think bank accounts, laptop, phone, car…)
Without an appointed executor, someone has to apply, and it’s a long and expensive legal process.
Objection #3: Making a Will is too expensive and time-consuming
Counterpoint: In today’s digital age, it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Using online solutions, you can complete a Will in about 20 minutes and for a fraction of the cost of seeing a lawyer.
When we think of making a Will, images of lawyers’ offices and sky-high legal fees come to mind for many of us. But gone are the days when you needed to go to a lawyer and spend many hundreds of dollars drafting a Will.
There are DIY Will-making kits and online will services, like Epilogue, which anyone can use to complete a basic Will in about 20 minutes from the comfort of their own home. So, there’s no excuse for someone not to check this important to-do off their list.
Having said that, there are some, more complicated situations when you should visit a lawyer for legal advice:
- You want to exclude a spouse or child from your Will.
- You are in a second marriage.
- You have a child with a disability who is receiving government benefits.
- You have lots of assets outside of Canada.
- You have complicated tax questions that need a lawyer’s advice.
Yes, all adults need a Will—that’s a simple fact. However, convincing some of the younger generations of that is sometimes a bit more complicated. It’s just a matter of sitting down and having an open, collaborative conversation to address any concerns or barriers.
With simple online solutions available at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to complete this essential legal document (and you don’t even have to change out of your pyjamas!)