When to review your estate plan

Your life circumstances are bound to change over time, which could affect your estate plan. Think of estate planning as an ongoing process – not a one-time event.

Life events that can affect your estate plan

Not every change in your life will require a change to your estateEstate The total sum of money and property you leave behind when you die.+ read full definition plan, but consider reviewing it if any of these life changes occur:

  • marriage or common law partnership
  • birth or adoption of a child
  • separation or divorce – of you or a family member
  • remarriage
  • serious illness or severe complications due to disease, medical procedure, or treatment of you or a beneficiaryBeneficiary The person(s), institution, trustee or estate you choose to give money, property or other benefits when you die. You may name beneficiaries in your will, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, trust or other contracts.+ read full definition or executorExecutor Someone you name to carry out the wishes that you set out in your will after your death. May be named by the court if you don’t name one. In Ontario, an executor is called an estate trustee.+ read full definition
  • death of a spouse, family member, executor or trusteeTrustee A person or company that you appoint to manage the assets of a trust. You can name more than one trustee.+ read full definition
  • move to another province or out of country
  • purchase of property outside of province or country
  • sale of significant assets that make up your estate or change in how they are held
  • major change in financial or business situation (such as an inheritanceInheritance Property, money, titles, or debts that pass to you after someone’s death.+ read full definition or bankruptcy or desire to pass on the family business to adult children).
  • Desire to give to a charity during your lifetime or upon your death

Your wishes may change over time, even if no life events have occurred. It’s worth reviewing your estate plan every few years to confirm that it still reflects your wishes.

Other events that can affect your estate plan

You should also review your estate plan if laws such as family laws or succession laws, or taxTax A fee the government charges on income, property, and sales. The money goes to finance government programs and other costs.+ read full definition laws change. Changes in such laws can affect your estate planningEstate planning The plans you make to build and manage wealth for your lifetime and thereafter. Goals may include leaving the most money possible to your loved ones, with the least amount of taxes. Other goals may include caring for children, paying off debt or passing on a business.+ read full definition objectives and impact how you intend your assets to be distributed.

Key point

Moving to another province or out of country could require a change to your will.

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