Are you like most people – procrastinating getting your ducks in order? The ducks include risk management in the form of life and health coverage, income protection plans and/or a financial plan. If so, you are not alone but you can lead the way. How about an estate plan? Ok, I get it – you have no plans on dying, getting sick or leaving this planet. Well you may want to reconsider this delay. Far too many Canadians and Canadian business owners leave their affairs unfinished and quite frankly, it’s a mess for the executors or the courts to sort out. For just dollars a day, working with a qualified estate planner, this grief does not have to exist. Ok I get it. Too busy? How about a $65K tax bill on your estate in excess of $4 million when, for about $2K you could have worked with an estate lawyer to set up your affairs in the most tax efficient manner. Not every asset you own needs to flow through your will.
By planning for tomorrow today, you can retain more of your assets, protect your estate and leave a lasting legacy for your family. An estate plan is absolutely essential for organizing your financial affairs and providing for the well being of your family.
Who is estate planning for?
A common misconception is that this process is only for the wealthy, which often leads to unnecessary costs to the estate, unnecessary headaches and family conflicts just to save a buck or two.
Estate planning should be a financial priority at almost any stage of life. In fact, sometimes the words, estate planning, financial planning and retirement planning are interchangeable and refer to the same type of planning.
In a nutshell estate planning speaks when you are no longer here and works when you are still breathing. You determine who gets what, when and how much.
Are you a business owner? This tool is so important and valuable that you should not continue business as usual unless you have made this a priority. Who would take over the business when you are gone or incapacitated? Does your surviving spouse or loved one want to even take over the business and work with your business partner? This plan takes the complex and simplifies it! Drafted properly, an estate plan can do the following:
Asset distribution your way or no way!
Without an estate plan, the provincial government will be your voice. Some of the residue from your estate can end up going to non-family members.
Speed and Efficiency
Maintaining a healthy next generation is one of the benefits of having a estate plan drafted by a qualified advisor.
Determine how your assets are owned, organized and managed while you are alive
Enduring powers of attorney, personal directives and trusts are some effective tools to help people properly manage their estate if they are unable to.
Minimize Terminal Taxes
When you die, the federal government regards all of your capital assets (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) as disposed of for tax purposes. This dumping of capital assets can result in a huge income tax bill. With an estate plan in place, you can transfer the ownership and minimize the taxes incurred on them.
Minimize accounting, tax fees and other fees at death
When you die, not only will you have to pay taxes but often, there is also a list of fees and costs. Probate fees, funeral expenses, executor fees and legal fees. Once again with some planning ahead of time, you can save, not only time, but also money in the future.
Maintain your privacy
Have as much or as little of your assets flow through your WILL.