• Trustees Private Wealth

Dec 18, 2020

Make room for family matters this holiday season

As time passes, families have a tendency to spread out, pursuing careers or education and starting their own families. Because of that, it’s rare to be able to get everyone together at the same time and place. For many of us, the holidays are the only time that we can count on to see one another.

Christmas get-togethers are meant to celebrate and enjoy time with our families. However, that also makes it an important opportunity to have a serious discussion about the future and about putting some plans in place to protect yourself and those you care about in the event of your incapacitation or death. While it might not be the most pleasant topic for discussion around the BBQ this Boxing Day, a clear and updated estate plan may well be the greatest gift you can offer your family.

Review your Will

Life can change quickly, and keeping our estate planning in line with our current circumstances is often more than we can achieve in the moment. That’s why it’s important to periodically review and update your will. Before you can do that, though, you need to consider what changes to make. Ask yourself if any of the following have happened recently and if so, your will needs to be updated.

  • Guardianship – Have you named guardians for your children and are they still willing and able to care for them? Are you still comfortable with your choice?
  • Relationships and beneficiaries – Have you recently welcomed a new child or grandchild? Married, or started a long-term relationship? Perhaps you’ve gone through a separation or divorce? If your relationship status has changed, you’ll need to update the beneficiaries in your will to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of.
  • Assets and gifting – Have you come into an inheritance or bought a large asset such your first home? You may wish to leave a gift to someone important to you or to charity?

Put Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in Place

If you become ill or have a serious accident, EPAs will allow your loved ones to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf. Critically, this also allows them to access bank accounts, manage investments, pay bills, and deal with utility companies on your behalf. These are issues that can cause time-intensive and expensive delays for families, often requiring them to apply to Family Court before they can begin to manage your affairs.

Because of this, it’s important to appoint people you trust and to ensure that you haven’t changed your mind regarding your current attorneys – for example after a divorce.

Review your Investment Strategy

2020 has been a difficult year, and many of us may have worried during the market volatility in February and March when equity markets continued to decline in reaction to the global spread of COVID-19.  Despite that, you may not have had the time to review and revise your investment strategy to make sure it matches what you want your money to do for you and your family.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue to impact the economy both at home and on a global scale for the foreseeable future, it’s a good idea to take some time during the holidays to review your investments, revisit your strategy, talk about your goals with your family and friends and put some plans in place for the new year.

Planning is the key to success and our experienced Private Wealth team can help you plan, build and protect your wealth. Make it a New Year’s resolution to take action!

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