Everyone needs an estate plan, but no one likes doing it, because it seems morbid. So, it is not surprising that about half of all Canadians do not have a will. However, if taking care of your loved ones and having your assets transferred as you wish is important to you, it is a must!
Each province has intestate laws – what happens when you don’t have a will – and they may not be what you want done with your assets. Having a properly set up estate plan can help save taxes and fees. A proper estate will also save your loved ones time and frustration.
Here are a some things to consider:
- First is an up-to-date will that expresses your wishes.
- Use a lawyer if you can and complicated legal issues may be avoided.
- Get your advisor involved as they may be able to suggest tax and probate planning options. Also, they should know what your wishes are, so they can help your heirs.
- Discuss your wishes with your family to make things go smoother.
- Important too is choosing the right executor, this is a big job and you want to make sure the person you choose is up for it, this is a big job!.
- Make sure you have a power of attorney for finances and personal care.
- Name beneficiaries for your assets where allowed by law.
- Work with an accountant to estimate taxes payable at your death and then with an advisor to ensure the money is available to pay them. This could be through investments or life insurance.
- If you have more assets than you need, consider giving while you are alive, or invest in something that reduces taxes owing.
There are numerous estate planning strategies available to you, your advisor should be able to help you with them. Part of the planning is to know the questions to ask and having a professional help you with this can save time, money and frustration.
For more information visit my website: http://www.cathystanton.com/estates where you will have access to among other things a will planning checklist.