No matter your age, talking (or even thinking) about death can feel scary and morbid. We get it – it can often feel like a far-off concept that won’t affect us any time soon.
It’s no wonder it’s so easy to procrastinate and put off tasks like end-of-life planning. 57% of Canadians don’t have an up-to-date will. And according to data from Ratehub.ca’s Digital Money Trends Report, only 21% of Canadians currently pay for term life insurance while 23% pay for whole or universal life insurance.
While not planning for end-of-life is the norm, it shouldn’t be! It’s a part of your overall financial wellness that should be prioritized, like doing your taxes. But why?
Whether you’re in your 30s or enjoying retirement, we’ve rounded up 5 reasons you should prioritize end-of-life planning–no matter your age.
What is end-of-life planning?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is end-of-life planning?
End-of-life planning is exactly what it sounds like – making a plan in the event you experience an unexpected emergency. This includes everything from making a will, power of attorney documents, as well as purchasing things like life insurance.
Here are some reasons why end-of-life planning should be on your radar:
1. Prepare for the unexpected
We all hope to live long and healthy lives, but tomorrow is never guaranteed. While it’s not fun to think about, it’s important to make a plan just in case.
What happens to your home? What about your savings? How will this impact your loved ones?
When times are good, we often forget these things. But we know that end-of-life planning becomes top of mind when the unexpected happens. For example, we saw that 58% of millennials either created or updated their will during the pandemic.
2. Put your loved ones in a better financial position
End-of-life planning can also help you and your loved ones save money, in more ways than one. Here are some ways different parts of your end-of-life plan can put your loved ones in a better financial position:
Make sure your money goes to the right people and place: In your will, you can choose your beneficiaries to make sure your assets and property go to the right individuals. Without a will, it’s estimated that the average descendant could lose access to an average of $29,297.
Minimize estate administration taxes: By taking the time to carefully structure your assets, policies, and your estate plan, you can minimize the amount of estate administration taxes – leaving more money for your loved ones.
Provide income replacement through life insurance: Life insurance provides your loved ones and beneficiaries a lump sum payment. This can reduce the financial burden in the event of your death. It is designed to replace your income to support their daily living expenses.
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3. Protect your furry family members
One commonly forgotten part of end-of-life planning is making a plan for your pets.
Who will take care of them in the event you’re unable to? How can you ensure their preferences and health needs are met?
By creating a will, you can arrange for a comfortable life for your furry companion.
Just like children, pets can have a pet guardian appointed to look after them in your will. Make sure that their guardian is someone who you trust that will want to care for your pet. That means that they’re aware of the responsibilities and lifestyle that come with caring for your furry family member. You can also set aside money in a pet trust to ensure that they’ll have all their needs covered.
4. Reduce stress for your loved ones
Losing a loved one is never easy.
Having an end-of-life plan leaves a blueprint for your loved ones to follow and can alleviate their stress during a difficult time. A will can lighten the workload and countless hours required to complete the legal process, and even save them money. It can also reduce the likelihood of any family disagreements about what you would have wanted.
Being prepared means that your family is left with a plan in place. If there is an unexpected emergency, you can allow your family more space to process their emotions by having a plan ready for action.
5. Enjoy peace of mind
There’s honestly nothing worse than walking around with a feeling of “I know there’s something I should do, but I’ll just get to it later.”
Procrastination can be a dark cloud hanging over your head. This makes it difficult to fully enjoy the present, knowing you have unfinished business. Completing your will and other estate planning to-do’s can bring you some extra peace of mind because you know that your loved ones will be protected in an emergency.
The bottom line
We never know what tomorrow brings, but being proactive is one of the best ways to be certain that your wishes will be honoured when the time comes. The good news is that your will and end-of-life plan isn’t one-and-done! As your life changes, you can and should keep your will (and other estate plans) up to date to make sure they reflect your current wishes. Fortunately, many online will platforms like Willful, include unlimited changes, so you can come back and make easy, stress-free updates.
From life insurance to creating a will, making an end-of-life plan is the best way to protect your loved ones and give yourself peace of mind. No matter your age, take the time to prioritize these to-do’s today!