How Can These Pitfalls be Avoided?
With a little effort from yourself, these drawbacks can be avoided, thereby making the probate process as smooth as possible. These three tips can help you avoid causing problems for your estate executor and instead make things as stress-free as they can be at an already difficult time.
- Keep all important documents within a safe in your home. This will help ensure information regarding any debt or financial accounts you hold can be easily found. Also, consider keeping them on a USB drive or with a lawyer or your estate executor for an extra layer of security.
- Choose a trustworthy and competent estate executor. By getting someone who is up to the task, you'll make sure the entire process is straightforward. You should choose someone you know and that you believe will be able to handle the pressure of the role while grieving your loss. Make sure they know all there is to know about your estate assets and your wishes.
- Constantly update your will. While this usually only needs to happen after major events in your life, it's best to do it every few years at the least. This will help make the probate process easier and eliminate the chances that things end up where you don't want them to. Your will is arguably the most important document in relation to estate planning, so you should do your utmost to keep it as an accurate and timely reflection of your assets and your wishes.
- Name beneficiaries and create joint accounts whenever possible. By naming beneficiaries for retirement accounts such as TFSAs and RRSPs, as well as holding real estate and financial accounts jointly, you can ensure that these assets skip the probate process and go directly to their intended beneficiaries.