When and why to consider estate planning

ELORA – A common misconception about estate planning is that it is just for the affluent. This, however, is not the case.

Estate planning is for those who want to protect their loved ones and the assets they have built, and to ensure finances are taken care of if you are incapacitated. 

Mark Mountjoy from Mountjoy Financial in Elora suggests looking into estate planning “as early as when you start having kids, whether it’s in your twenties or even your thirties.”

Constant review

He added that finances and estate should be “constantly reviewed” around every three to five years.

“That just ensures that everything remains fresh [and] everybody is aware of what’s going on.”

Mountjoy explained it is important to have a “plan in place and keeping it accurate” as individuals could have beneficiaries that predecease them.

Another example provided was of having a beneficiary not wanting or being able to be responsible for a job, such as looking after a house or cottage, after reaching an older age. 

That is why “it is always good to keep it updated,” said Mountjoy.


Apart from it only being meant for wealthy folk, Mountjoy said there are some other misconceptions when it comes to estate planning. 

He offered the example of people not needing estate planning or to have a will if they don’t have children or a spouse.

“You do need a will,” he said.

“Things like powers of attorney are important. You don’t know when you when you might need one; whether it’s for your medical or for your assets.”

Of course, a lawyer will help individuals with powers of attorney and writing a will – which is a document that explains where your stuff without a beneficiary will go.

“The province has a way of dealing with people who die intestate (without a will),” he explained.

An estate planner is available to those who want guidance about how to transition, according to Mountjoy.

“Maybe there’s financial products that can be put into place like a life insurance policy,” he said.

“You take a look at everything and you go ‘well, how do we get it from one generation to the next, and how do we do it efficiently [and] make sure that we put beneficiaries on what needs to [have] beneficiaries?’”

Making decisions

Estate planning is an important factor in financial planning.

It ensures that when you cannot make a decision or are unavailable to make one, any questions your successors, beneficiaries and loved ones have can be answered easier when available in a document.

“It’s not cookie cutter unfortunately. Everybody’s completely different [and] what might work for you might not work for your brother, or your mom or your dad,” said Mountjoy.