Most of my childhood memories are of my father pouring over accounting books – researching and investigating when and where to invest his money to have a secure comfortable future. As a Chartered Accountant this was not only his job, but also something he truly enjoyed doing. I remember seeing him with his head down figuring out their accounts as I headed out to soccer or track or as I raced out to meet friends.
Small communities are an amazing mix of struggles, hopes, and education. The 23rd of April, our local Scotia Bank held a seminar on Wills and Estate planning. It was open to the entire community and the community showed their thanks by attending in significant numbers. McBride Scotia Bank Manager Clara Appleby said, “I am happy and amazed by the large turn-out we had.”
Eighty people came out on Wednesday night to hear about the new WESA (Wills Estates Succession Act) that came into effect on March 31, 2014. It answered questions like why a will is so important, when you need to write a will, and how to prepare finances for the future. Those in attendance were a diverse cross section of McBride and surrounding communities. There were those with young children and those with great grandchildren, those who were self employed, small business owners, those that work for others, and the retired.
Financial Consultant Ray Noonan came out from Prince George to share with those in attendance what he has learned over the past 20 years. One of Noonan’s opening comments seem to really strike a chord in the room and get everyone’s attention “You don’t do estate planning for yourself… We all make a donation at the end of our lives.
You just need to decide if it goes to Canada Revenue Agency or somewhere else.”
Noonan then went on to describe why a Will is so important. A will is not just for your end of life years but for anyone that cares about their family. Loosing someone you love is hard enough without the added stress of needing to sort out your affairs. Having a will and a financial plan allows you to decide what you want to happen when you are gone. It allows you to make sure that those you love are looked after.
The Notary Society of BC decided that last week was “Make a Will week” to encourage and inform the people of BC about new laws regarding wills and inheritance. Approximately half the population die without a will. In today’s society where things have become so much more complicated, not having a will can lead to a very long drawn out, expensive, and stressful ordeal.
WESA takes into account today’s families. We can now actually have more than one spouse. You can be married, but separated and have lived with someone for long enough to also have a common law spouse. We have blended families with “yours, mine, and ours” children. WESA is supposed to make things easier to understand, give us better definitions, and make things more fair for today’s world.
Noonan was a knowledgeable speaker who shared a lot of valuable information. He gave those in attendance a lot to think about and a better understanding of how financial planning and a will can help those you love, not only in the future but right now.
Appleby hopes seminars like this one will help the community. She emphasized that although Scotia Bank has had some of these programs in place since 1994, they have evolved and become more readily accessible to the everyday people. “As we age if we have no close family or no close family with the knowledge or ability to help in these kinds of matters, we need people who do have the knowledge to be able to help… We are rising to fulfill the need,” says Appleby.