A recurring mantra of many people is the phrase that they “need to get their affairs in order” when significant life events occur, when they are planning a trip or when they simply wake up one day and realize they don’t have a Will and they aren’t getting any younger.
With the onslaught of COVID-19 in 2020, the theme of getting one’s affairs in order has become increasingly prevalent. We, as practitioners, review and evaluate our clients’ estate plan and assist them in creating a plan that accurately reflects their overall intentions on death or incapacity. Having an up-to-date estate plan in place is imperative, regardless of whether the clients are homebodies or globetrotters.
Prior to COVID-19, an estimated one million Canadians would escape Canada’s cold winter weather each year in favour of sun and sand. This fall, a significant number of “snowbirds” are in a holding pattern due to the second wave of COVID-19 cases. Regardless of the fear and restrictions faced due to COVID-19, many snowbirds still intend to, or may have already boarded a plane, to head south for the winter months. For those snowbirds who remain and are adopting a “wait and see” approach, it is an opportune time to get their estate plans in order prior to making a decision to head to warmer climates. Each country has implemented different protocols in terms of dealing with COVID-19 to protect their residents, as well as their visitors. If one of our snowbird clients were to become ill while in search of their sun and sand adventure, it could create additional challenges for them. It is important that we remind our “snowbirds” that this year, of all years, they should take the extra time and precaution to re-evaluate their estate plan well before deciding whether or not to “take flight” .
My father is one of the snowbirds I refer to above who had been adopting a wait and see approach. Finally, he has decided to migrate south to join the other snowbirds. Being the responsible Law Clerk daughter that I am, I have ensured that his estate plan is in order.
Check in on your snowbird clients -they may take flight soon!