Why Canadians Don’t Have a Will (and why they should)
Talking about death will not kill you any more than talking about sex will make you pregnant.
A recent ARI poll revealed that more than half (51%) of Canadians don’t have a will.*
The reasons given are multifold. According to the poll, a quarter (25%) of those asked said they were “too young” to worry about it. Nearly as many (23%) felt they didn’t have enough assets to warrant having a will. And 8% of those polled said they didn’t want to think about dying.
How valid are these reasons?
Let’s address those that don’t want to think about dying. I get it. I don’t like to think about dying either but find me an adult that hasn’t been touched in some by death or dying. You can’t ignore it. And trying not to think about death is like trying not to think about a white bear. (You’re thinking about that right now, aren’t you.) Death is an inevitable part of life. Trying not to think about it doesn’t make it go away. Acknowledging your mortality and talking about it lessens its emotional grip on you and frees you up to plan for it. Talking about death will not kill you any more than talking about sex will make you pregnant.
Get a will and talk to your family about your choices.
What about those who don’t think they have enough assets to need a will?
It’s true that those who make more than $100,000 per annum are more likely to have a will than those who make less. Having said that, there are many cases where even the rich have died without a will, leaving behind a legal quagmire for their family. Picasso, Aretha Franklin, and Prince are just a few of the wealthy who have died leaving a legal mess behind that have tied up the family in complex legal cases costing time and money. So, whatever amount you have or don’t, do your family a favour and get a will.
Think you’re too young to need a will?
It’s true that older people (over 55) are nearly four times more likely to have a will than younger people (18–34). Is that a reason for a young person not to have a will? Absolutely not. Life is unpredictable. Accidents can happen. Young parents will frequently consider guardians for their children in the event of their deaths. And many purchase life insurance to cover life’s unpredictable events. Writing a will is simply an essential part of that preparation. A will protects your children and loved ones in the event of your untimely death. Without a will, the government will step in and distribute your assets according to its choices, not yours.
Be smart, not sorry. Talk to a lawyer. Yes, lawyers cost money but the money spent now will save your loved ones time and money in the future. Most of all, it will provide them with peace of mind. And that’s something you can’t put a price on.