by Erin Bury, CEO, Willful
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Thousands, if not millions of travellers experienced mass disruption early in the year when COVID-19 affected their travel plans. It’s safe to say that when it’s safe to travel again, most of us will be taking extra precautions to ensure we’re protected from any unforeseen circumstances.
When you think of emergency planning pre-travel, your mind likely goes to things like travel insurance, calling your bank, and securing emergency funds. What likely has slipped your mind is estate planning! Ensuring your estate plan is in place ahead of your travels can give you extra peace of mind that your loved-ones are protected in the event of an unexpected emergency.
Here are our top reasons you should make estate planning part of your pre-travel checklist.
Reason 1: Your dependent children are protected:
If you have dependent children, your #1 goal always is to make sure they are always taken care of. This can be even more important when you’ve gone abroad. By making a will, you’ll be able to legally-designate a guardian for your child(ren) in the event of your passing. In Canada, if your dependent children don’t have another surviving parent, the court will decide on a guardian for your children— this person may not have been who you would have picked!
Even when you’re not travelling, it’s in your best interest to have a will to ensure there is a plan in place for your dependents. Not naming guardians and custodians can result in a painful tug-of-war between family or friends who believe they would be your choice in caretaker.
Tip For Pet Parents: Your will is also where you can designate a guardian for any pets you have, so you can ensure that there is a plan in place for our furry family members as well.
Reason 2: Protect your financial, health, and personal decisions:
While it’s important to prepare for your unexpected death, it’s just as important to think about what would happen if you experienced an accident or a personal medical emergency while traveling. By making a power of attorney document, you can designate someone to make decisions about your property, finances, personal life, and medical care in the event of an emergency if you are unable to do so yourself. This can include paying your bills, maintaining your property, or making decisions related to your healthcare. You can also outline your wishes within your documents.
Think of your POA as a form of disability insurance (it takes care of you while you’re alive) and your will as a form of life insurance (it takes care of your loved ones after you pass away).
Many Canadians also opt to use a limited power of attorney when they need assistance looking after their affairs while traveling.
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prioritize your finances before you go
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Reason 3: Make your own decisions on what happens to your belongings:
Your will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine how you’d like to divide your estate and gives you a place to allocate special gifts of monetary or sentimental value such as property, travel memorabilia, and jewelry. In Canada, if you die without a will, the courts will divide up your estate based on the laws in your province. Often this may leave your belongings in the wrong hands and may ignore some important relationships in your life!
Reason 4: Bring your loved-ones extra peace of mind:
The process of wrapping up someone’s estate and grieving can already be incredibly stressful and emotional. Having an up-to-date will can make the process easier, especially in the event you pass away abroad, where the logistics can be even more complicated than if you were at home.
The process of writing a will and putting your decisions down in writing takes the burden off your loved ones to guess (and challenge) what your wishes would be. Many of us put off writing a will, thinking our families will know what to do if we die. However, it’s quite the opposite — a recent survey commissioned by online estate planning platform Willful, showed that 2 in 3 (66%) Canadians have no clue about their spouse or parents’ end-of-life wishes if they were to pass away. The assumption that our families know what we would want, also often causes family friction, so having a will can minimize any potential arguments.
Key TakeawaysWhile no one wants to think about the possibility of dying on the trip you’ve been planning, life can be full of the unexpected. The same way we purchase insurance while travelling, having an up-to-date will and power of attorney documents can go a long way in protecting our loved-ones while we’re traveling. It may sound like a lot of work, but making a will is easier than you think. Online estate planning platforms, like Willful, make it affordable and convenient to make your estate planning documents from the comfort of your home in less than 20 minutes -— no lawyer required!
Willful is a Canadian online estate planning platform that makes it affordable, easy, and convenient to create emergency planning documents in less than 20 minutes – no lawyer required!
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