Momento Mori as the old Roman proverb goes. Or Remember, you must die. The philosophy around death has been articulated for thousands of years. The point of the saying isn’t to stoke fear or morbidity, but to remind us that we are only here for so long, and that in this time we must move with purpose. And part of that purpose is to prepare for the end.

You have worked hard for what you have. You have moved with purpose your whole life and have accumulated things both valued in dollars and sentiment. It’s only right for you to have your say on what happens to your things when you pass. Maybe your home goes to your partner until they live out the rest of their days. Your son gets the old Honda Civic so he doesn’t have to commute to work anymore. But what many people don’t realize is that your wishes are not automatic.

In fact, half of Canadians[1], and almost two thirds of Americans[2], don’t have a will, meaning that there will be other factors that drive who gets what vs. your wishes.

The consequences of dying intestate (or without a will), beyond your family being surprised that you do not have one, is that the government uses provincial laws to decide the distribution of your estate and chooses your executor for you. This can cause issues such as your finances and assets being distributed in a manner you did not intend, assets being inaccessible because of disputes, resentment among family members, and even in the case of common law spouses, loss of control over assets that are in your name.

There is a saying “you can’t make a dysfunctional family functional with a will, but you can definitely make a functional family dysfunctional without one”. It is hard enough to administer an estate that has a high quality will and a family that has been prepared pre-death for what the will says. Without a will, which acts both as a family and legal roadmap, your family will be participating in a version of posthumous broken-telephone, where each family member will have different versions and context of what your wishes were with no receiver to ask you to clarify them. Your family will be left to make decisions on a path forward and figure who will execute the estate when their emotions are high and they are least capable of doing so. This is why making a proper will, which legally binds your intentions and provides direction to your family is so important.

For those with a business, a will and a succession plan is even more important. Stop and think what would happen if you died tomorrow. Would your life partner or family members know what you have? Know where to find it? Know what to do with it? Know the passwords to the accounts? To the crypto wallet? Who would take over the company? Do you have buy-sell insurance to buy your shares out? It is not a pleasant task and can seem overwhelming, but these are the kinds of questions that need to be answered and dealt with before you pass away.

At Targeted Strategies, we encourage everyone to engage with a reputable estate lawyer to put a will in place and to check the validity of it at least every 2-3 years. For business owners who need buy-sell insurance, we can help. Feel free to send a message to



  1. “Estate Planning Statistics to Read before Writing Your Will.” Edited by Siege Media, LegalZoom,, 6 Jan. 2023,,guardian%20for%20their%20young%20children.
  2. “More than Half of Younger Canadians Are Including Charitable Giving in Wills: RBC Royal Trust Survey.” RBC Wealth Management, 19 July 2022,,cent%20for%20those%2035%2D54.