Without a plan in place, your social media profile may live forever
We’ve talked before about how important it is to have a properly-written-and-witnessed will in place – and how it’s the sort of thing that so many people put off until it’s too late.
But here’s something to consider: Most of us think about the big stuff when we think about wills and estates. We think about leaving enough money behind to take care of our families, about making sure that the house and other big assets are accounted for, and about making our wishes clear regarding children or healthcare decisions.
However, it’s the small details that can really prove problematic in the event of an untimely or unanticipated death. The courts have established precedents for the ‘big stuff’ like the family home or minor children, there are other areas which are either too rare or too new to have sufficient precedent.
Take your social media profile, for example. As this infographic suggests, not many of us have really thought about this, or made our wishes clear, even verbally, to the people around us. Do you really want those stag-night photos to be floating around the internet long after you’re gone?
Another good reason to make sure you’ve got a will in place…
Most injury claims aren’t funny.
But some of them are unusual.
With more than 10 years’ experience in personal actions – including slip & fall and personal injury – we’ve seen some unusual cases. Most of them aren’t trivial or funny, of course, and many involve very serious issues.
Some personal injury claims, however, are definitely unusual. This list outlines some of them (most of these are from the US, where the personal injury claims rate is higher and the volume of cases is much larger than that of Canada). Interestingly, some of the claimants in these cases won their cases.
Infographic by KCY at Law.
Money, property cited as biggest concerns
A few months ago, US legal resource Avvo released the results of a survey on divorce trends. They surveyed 900 of their users (people seeking legal information and services) and 400 lawyers practicing family law, and asked them about their biggest concerns surrounding the divorce process.
The answers probably won’t surprise you: 58% of respondents said that costs (both the legal costs associated with a divorce and the longer-term costs of child support or asset division) were their biggest concerns. People with children were also very concerned about custody issues.
Now, this is a US-based study, and family law there is different from that in Ontario (and differs from state to state), but people who are contemplating divorce in Ontario often have the same concerns about money and custody. However, there’s usually no need to be too anxious, and here’s why:
- Custody isn’t a big issue as often as you might imagine, and it doesn’t get ugly as often as reality TV shows might have you believe
- Ontario family law has well-established guidelines for child support and other factors – this tends to prevent custody issues from becoming dramatic showdowns
- Because family law has well-established guidelines, divorce rarely becomes a long-drawn-out, expensive process for either party
I hope that puts your mind at rest, at least a little. In the meantime, here’s the infographic summarizing Avvo’s findings.
It’s not as hard as you think
I have to be honest: I’ve been a lawyer for a long time now, and I’ve always thought that November, not April, was the ‘make-a-will month’. But it doesn’t really matter which month it is, as long as it gets people thinking about their own will and estate planning.
The survey results below specify Americans, but the stats for Canadians wouldn’t be much different, I suspect: Most people haven’t drawn up a proper will, and in most cases it’s simply because they don’t consider it a big priority.
You may think you don’t have a lot of assets or property to distribute in the case of your death, but the McAfee data quoted at the bottom is very interesting: If your digital assets alone are worth $55k, isn’t it possible you have more reasons to consider a will than you thought?