Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

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When a person dies, it is a sad occasion. Family members have to come to grips with carrying on living without their loved one and it is a struggle both emotionally and practically. But someone has to eventually pick up the pieces and begin to settle his or her affairs. And, those affairs range from everything like house or car ownership, bank accounts, pension benefits, financial bills, federal and provincial taxes, and the list goes on and on. Silly things like passwords for various things such as Facebook, Apple Music, and their personal computer suddenly become an issue.

The question is: who will do all of these things? Who is authorized to make those decisions? Think about it. The spouse may be able to do some of it because he or she is a joint holder of the bank accounts, investments, and RRSPs. However, there comes a time when being a spouse is not enough to settle affairs.

You need the legal authority. What does that mean? You need a legal will drafted by a lawyer and duly signed and witnessed according to the law. That gives the executor/trix the right to make decisions on the loved one’s estate in dealing with banks, motor vehicle offices, etc. It allows him or her to close accounts, pay bills, and submit the terminal tax return to the Canada Revenue Agency. This is particularly important if the deceased is the owner of property.

It is sad to hear of the passing of friends and relatives but it grieves me considerably to hear that they died without a legal will. Please don’t wait until it is too late. See a lawyer and get a legal will drafted. The cost is insignificant in comparison to the grief that your family will have to go through after you die.

Listed below are some of the points that will require attention after a loved one’s death:
• Canada Pension: stop payments
• Death benefit: are you eligible?
• Survivor benefit
• Old age security allowance
• Social Insurance Card: should be returned with a death certificate to Service Canada
• MCP: a change of information form must be completed A1A4Z9
• Passport: the passport office should be notified of the death by sending a copy of the death certificate and a letter
• Life insurance
• Mortgage life insurance
• Personal pension
• Vehicle registration ownership
• Credit cards
• Bank accounts
• Make sure someone knows your Apple ID,  logins, and passwords
• Final income tax return: who is responsible?

In conclusion, these are but a few of the details that require attention. Please get a will, and, while you are doing that, prayerfully consider leaving a bequest in that will for your church.

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