5 Things To Update In Your Estate Plan When You Move

Moving can be an exciting adventure and an opportunity to start fresh – but as anyone who has packed and unpacked boxes knows, it can also be a very busy and stressful time. From packing and cleaning to updating your mailing address, there’s a long list of tasks that need to be taken care of during the moving process. If you’ve recently moved or plan on moving after selling your home using Properly, one of the most important tasks is updating your estate plan to ensure it still protects you and your family. Here are the five parts of your estate plan you need to update when moving:

  • Update your city & where your will is located

If you’re moving to a new city, be sure to update your will to reflect your new city (and province, if relevant). It’s likely that you’ll be bringing your will with you and storing it in a new place, so you’ll also need to let your executor know where you’ll be keeping it. 

  • Update your executor 

Your executor should be someone that lives nearby that can represent your estate in court if needed, maintain your property until it’s sold or distributed, pay your taxes, and distribute your estate to loved ones. Being an executor comes with a lot of responsibility (it can be hundreds of hours of work) so adding travel time and expenses to the equation is not ideal. If you’re moving to a new city, province, or country, take some time to think about how this would impact your executor’s role if you were to pass away. If there’s someone you trust that lives near your new home and is willing to take on the role, consider updating your executor (and/or changing your backup executors as well). 

  • Update your guardians

The same goes for the guardians of minor children. If you were to become incapacitated or pass away, you’d need a guardian in place that can take immediate care of your children. If your guardians live far away from your new home, it may not be possible for them to travel to your kids, and you typically want to choose a guardian that would involve minimal disruption for the children. Update your listed guardian to someone you trust who lives nearby and will be able to care for your children at a moment’s notice if needed. Or, if you prefer to keep a guardian who doesn’t live nearby, make sure you’ve discussed what the plan would be for your child/children’s care if they had to move.

  • Update your Power of Attorney for Property & Personal Care

When we move, responsibilities like paying the mortgage, cable and hydro bills, putting the garbage out and shovelling the driveway come with us (unfortunately). If an illness or injury left you incapacitated and unable to take care of these responsibilities, the person you’ve designated as your Attorney in your Power of Attorney for Property can take on these tasks for you. If you’re moving far away from your current chosen Attorney, it can make it incredibly difficult for them to fulfill this role. It’s a good idea to choose someone that lives closer to your new home and can tend to your finances without having to travel a far distance. 

It’s especially important to update your Power of Attorney for Personal Care documents to ensure there is someone nearby that can make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate. Your Attorney for Personal Care should be nearby to communicate your medical decisions as soon as possible. 

  • Update specific gifts

As you pack and take an inventory of all of the items you own, you’ll likely come across heirlooms or possessions you had forgotten about, so moving is a good time to add them to your will. If you’ve sold or donated items that were previously listed in your will as specific gifts, you’ll need to remove those items from your will. If you’ve made big purchases during the move that you’d like to leave to your beneficiaries, you’ll need to list those in your will. Itemizing all of the assets you own is a big task, so if you’re already doing it as part of your move, it will save you and your executor from a ton of work down the road (keep in mind that you don’t need to list out all of your assets in your will – it covers the umbrella of everything you own; but you do need to list out any gifts you want to ensure go to specific people – for example a wedding ring to a child).

Research from Willful found that 10% of Canadians have an outdated will due to a major change in their life like moving, having a child, or getting married. An outdated will may not provide you and your loved ones with the protection you need, so it’s good practice to review your will whenever you’re going through a big life event. We know that moving can be stressful and this is adding another to-do to a seemingly never-ending list, but here’s the good news: it takes less than 20 minutes to make a will online with Willful and you’ll gain peace of mind knowing you have an up-to-date estate plan to protect you and your loved ones.