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Keeping Wills Current

Many things have changed since the ‘good old days’ but, unfortunately, some things haven’t.

My Dad died overnight at age 57 from a massive heart attack; to say it was unexpected is an understatement. We were terribly unprepared, both emotionally and estate wise. My Dad had a will, but it needed updating, and everything was in my Dad’s name. The estate took almost a year and a half to settle, and, in the meantime, my Mom had never written a cheque or paid a bill in her life. I talk to many women and couples – it still surprises me how often wills are not done or updated, or, the woman has little to do with the investments. Women may handle the everyday banking account and paying bills, but quite often, nothing beyond that. There could be a number of reasons for this disjoint – they may not be interested, they may trust their spouse’s ability to handle everything, or their spouse wants to be in control. Whatever the reason, it is prudent for you to take an interest, after all, it is a partnership. Open and honest discussions about money can bring couples closer by talking about goals, savings and retirement dreams. If the partner that controls the investments is no longer there due to divorce, death or illness, the survivor is left to sort out all that is left. Vice versa holds true, if the woman is in charge, it is sensible to involve her partner in financial dealings, especially if she is managing the household savings and investments. Many articles have been written about women and investing – how woman have different ideas and risk tolerance and may not be interested in the ups and downs of the markets, but really, the fundamentals are the same for both men and women. Know what is going on, meet with your advisor together, and beyond that, take as much interest as you like.    

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