Getting closure: our personal estate planning story (part 1)

By Victoria Rogers

January 18, 2017

My partner at work and play is Kim Mailey. We both started at McLeod Young Weir as Investment Executives in the late ’80s, and now have a life and legacy we are proud of: The Mailey Rogers Group, two children in their 20s, and a beautiful home on the Howe Sound. We also have cherished relationships with family and friends, and a network of professionals in our community whom we respect and support. So, when it came time last fall to address our estate planning, it seemed like a herculean task lay ahead.  I’d like to share our personal estate planning story, as I know many readers may relate to the obstacles we overcame. We truly stepped back from being the professionals “on the other side of the table” to being a client just like you.

Procrastination was our first obstacle. It had been 10 years since our last will update, and so much had developed. Listing these life changes was somewhat like looking at a diary: our children who were then toddlers were now at university; my parents, once simply enjoying their golden years, now faced health concerns; and our net worth showed the results of years of hard work and sensible wealth planning. It also seemed a truly daunting task to get started on our will revision when there were so many other pressing daily matters.  What finally motivated us to take action was a planned trip with our children to England, and our shared concern about the possibility of a common disaster. The fear was that if this happened, my parents would be survivors without us having financially protected them to the best of our abilities.

Commitment to seeing our estate planning task through to completion was also a huge problem for us. In September, we met with Monique Trepanier (our Scotiatrust Estate and Trust Consultant), and because of our poor commitment, it wasn’t until December that we signed our new wills. Throughout these three months (and three meetings), Monique addressed our fairly sophisticated estate needs with a great deal of patience, and professionalism which showed her years of experience in the field of law. I found it extra challenging being in the “Sandwich Generation”, having both our children and parents’ financial futures to protect. For Kim and I, the most significant matter was how and when to transfer our wealth to our children. This was eventually solved through many active debates about our options: outright gifting, delayed distribution, or establishing Trusts.

Addressing the complexities of your unique life story are also part of estate planning.  I personally did a lot of soul searching in this process, because I had initiated the traumatic sale of my parents’ family home two years prior.  Many seniors express that selling their family home can be heart-wrenching, and my own parents, myself and my brothers were no exception to this experience. We all felt a profound sense of loss upon parting with the lovely property where we had grown up, even though my parents were downsizing to a beautiful apartment. Now, with our new wills in place, I am happy to say that I have finally found closure on having initiated this sad but necessary event.

In our planning with Monique, our future wishes will see the apartment we purchased for my parents held in Trust for them, with my brothers benefitting from its eventual sale.  A heavy burden had been taken off my shoulders thanks to having worked through these emotional obstacles with an extraordinary professional. Thank you, Monique Trepanier…it was good to be on the other side of the table with you to guide us.

After completing our estate planning, I felt very strongly about sharing our story for you to understand the Mailey Rogers Group knows these emotional obstacles are universal to us all and can be overcome. I encourage you to ask yourself – when did you last update your will? If it’s time, don’t procrastinate, but commit to the task. I believe the personal reward will be amazing, knowing that your loved ones will be cared for even when you are not there to hold their hands.

Mailey Rogers Group is hosting a Lunch and Learn with Monique Trepanier, discussing ‘The 10 Mistakes to Avoid in your Will and Estate Planning’. If you’d like to attend this complimentary event, please RSVP to Tannis Fuller 604.913.7033 | tannis.fuller@scotiawealth.com. Seats are limited!

What: Lunch and Learn with Monique Trepanier
When: Thursday February 16th, 2017
 11:30am registration and lunch
12-1pm presentation
Where: Scotia Wealth Management Ambleside office, West Vancouver