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Why a Will should be a part of your back-to-school checklist

Happy new (school) year! While a new school year can be exciting, getting back into the swing of things after a summer of relaxed routines can be a challenge for parents and kids alike. Getting ready for back-to-school often means shopping for new school supplies, buying new clothes and maybe even squeezing in that last family summer road trip. We know that back-to-school is a busy time and to-do lists often seem like they’re never ending, but there’s one key to-do that many parents are forgetting to add to their list: making a will.

An Angus Reid survey commissioned by Willful found that 48% of Canadian parents don’t have a will, and that number jumps to 65% of parents with minor children. Making a will probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when starting to prepare for a new school year, but it’s an important task that will protect both you and your children if the unexpected happens. And isn’t that exactly what back-to-school season is for, getting organized now to make life a little easier down the road?

If making a will isn’t on your back-to-school checklist, here are the top reasons why you should add it to your list:

 

1. To choose a guardian for minor children

We know it’s hard to think about someone else raising your child, but if something happens to you or your spouse, having a legal guardian outlined in your will ensures there’s someone to care for your child. It’s a good idea to appoint a guardian as soon as your child is born or adopted. Not having a guardian will result in the courts deciding for you, and they may not pick the person that you would have chosen yourself. It can also lead to a painful tug-of-war between family or friends who believe they would have been your choice of guardian.

 

2. For peace of mind

As a parent, life is always busy. But once school starts up, things get a little more hectic. One of the most common reasons for not having a will is procrastination – most people plan on doing their will, they just keep putting it off until “later,” but often later never comes. Doing your will now will give you peace of mind knowing that there is a plan in place for your family and save you from having to squeeze it in later when you’ve got a million other things on the go.

 

3. To choose who will benefit from your estate

Making a will allows you to directly choose the people you want to pass on your assets, cash, property or other gifts to. This allows you to make sure that any family heirlooms and items of sentimental value (jewelry, clothing, photographs, etc.) are passed down to the people who will cherish them the most. Don’t wait until the courts have to make these decisions for you because they don’t know your family history.

 

4. It’s the easiest to-do you’ll cross off your list

People often assume that making a will is expensive and time-consuming – but technology has made it much easier and faster to cross it off your nagging to-do list. With Willful, you can make an online will in less than 20 minutes, and you don’t even have to leave your couch. It takes less effort, less time (and less money!) than back-to-school shopping.

 

Taking that next step…

Making a will should be the number one item on all parents back-to-school checklist – and if you already have one, it’s a good time to make sure it’s up-to-date – if you’ve recently had a child, a second child, gotten married, or welcomed a new pet, you should ensure you update your will, since about 10% of wills are out of date.

Planswell readers can get $15 off any Willful plan by following this link and using code PLANSWELL15.

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