1 GET ADVICE FROM EXPERTS IN EVERY FIELD
Estate planning involves significant financial and legal considerations. Your DFSIN advisor can take charge of financial security concerns while coordinating efforts with other professionals who have complementary expertise. Together, they can help you assess the situation, specify your intentions and understand all the issues.
2 REVIEW YOUR MARITAL STATUS
You may be married or in a common-law relationship, perhaps you have children from a previous marriage… all these can affect distribution of your assets. Review your situation so that you can clearly identify heirs and beneficiaries among your current spouse, a previous spouse, children from different households, the rest of your relatives and even the government itself.
3 REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE AND INVESTMENTS
Life insurance can cover immediate expenses following a death, release capital that can produce income for survivors, and pay taxes on your RRSP or RRIF, secondary residence or other major taxable asset. Similarly, the right investment strategy can reduce taxes due upon death.
4 DRAFT OR UPDATE YOUR WILL
Your will specifies to whom you want to bequeath your assets, and names the executor of your estate, i.e. the person who will be responsible for disposing of your assets in accordance with your instructions and the law, and in the interests of your heirs. It is important for your will to be up to date and clearly express your wishes.
5 CONSIDER A TRUST
A testamentary trust can keep the income generated by the assets you bequeath from being immediately taxable – often at a high marginal rate – in the hands of your heirs. You can also use a trust to specify when your heirs will have access to their inheritance and the way in which they may do so.
6 THINK ABOUT YOUR FINAL YEARS
It would be wise for your plan to include provisions for those years during which you may no longer be able to make your own decisions and manage your own affairs. A living will in case of incapacity can specify your intentions in such a situation, while long-term care insurance can help your loved ones care for you without putting their own financial security at risk.
7 ARTICULATE YOUR STRATEGY
- In official signed documents
- In a proper estate plan