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Monday, August 8, 2016

Last-minute wills more costly for clients

Are you one of the many people who procrastinate when it comes to getting a will done, then end up realizing that you just can't go on vacation with peace of mind if you haven't got your will in place? If so, you are certainly not alone. In an article from, Ottawa lawyer Tanya Carlton talks about how this happens with her clients. Click here to read it.

I have always, as Ms.Carlton mentions, had a spike in requests for wills in the weeks before major holidays. Mid to late November is always extremely busy due to Christmas travelers realizing they don't have much time left before taking to the skies.

In the article, Ms. Carlton mentions that clients sometimes wish to sign a basic will when time is short, just so that they have something in place, even if it's not as thorough as it should be. They intend to re-visit and upgrade the wills after their vacation and to take the time to address all of their issues and goals more thoroughly. I've done those "something in place for now" wills myself, but I don't really like to do them. That's because when people come back from vacation, the pressure to get the will done is off, they get back to work and get busy again, and the will doesn't get changed.

When time is really limited before vacation, occasionally a client will look to abbreviate the will preparation process even further. After a meeting with me in which I've written down copious notes about their wishes, a client will ask whether in the absence of a signed will, my notes would have the same effect as a will. I point out to them that they will not. Some offer to sign my notes. That won't do, either.  If notes were enough, why would anyone go through the rest of the process?

I find that most people are quite aware that they should have wills in place, but it usually takes some kind of triggering event to cause them to get on with it. Sometimes they are motivated to do their wills because they've had a bad experience with a family estate where there was no will. Sometimes it's because a friend or relative passed away unexpectedly. And often, it's because they have a vacation coming up and they know that these days, anything can happen.

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