Whether you’re leaving a little or a lot, the key to protecting your loved ones is simple: just start.
Do I need an estate plan?
Estate planning isn’t only about country homes and yachts, it’s about the peace of mind you will feelknowing that you’ve planned for every eventuality and that your wishes will be respected. Even if you don’t believe you have much of an estate now, consider that upon your death, there may be insurance proceeds or other assets to divide. Ultimately, if you think estate planning is only for people with art collections or antique furniture, you may leave your loved ones with headaches and unanswered questions. Almost every single person who dies leaves some sort of estate – let us help you take control of yours.
- Start thinking about what constitutes your estate.
- Start deciding how you might like it to be shared after your death.
- Start talking to loved ones about your wishes.
Why do I need a Will?
Your will designates how your estate should be distributed; yet, less than half of Canadians have one1. If you are unsure of the reasons why you might need a will, consider the following:
- Did you know that if you die without a current will, then depending on where you live, your common law partner could be left out of your estate entirely, while a separated (but not divorced) spouse could be entitled to all or a portion of your estate?
- If you have young children, you should ensure that your will is up to date so that your children won’t be subject to a custody dispute if ever you pass away. You can select a guardian who has the same values as you and has similar views on raising children; just make sure you discuss your intentions with the individual before choosing them.
- If you are leaving gifts to minors (children or grandchildren) or potentially a disabled spouse or child, do you need to create a trust in your will to ensure that the estate will be properly managed? If you do not leave your assets in trust, your beneficiaries will generally be entitled to receive their portion of the estate upon reaching the age of majority, which may still be too young to receive a large sum of money.
Does your family know where to find your will? Does your spouse know the account numbers for all of your investments? There have been situations where individuals found and acted on a will, only to find a more current one months later when emptying the deceased’s house. Ask for a copy of IG Wealth Management’s Personal records organizer to organize information about your personal and financial affairs. You can capture all of your important information in one place including bank accounts, insurance policies, investment accounts, and other financial information. It will serve as a valuable resource for your survivors and estate administratorsupon your death.
Reducing the tax bite
You’ve worked hard to build your wealth and you don’t want it eroded by taxes and estate fees. A common question from people beginning the estate planning journey is: “How can I save tax at the time of death?” A more realistic approach may be to plan for what the tax bill may be and purchase sufficient insurance to fund the tax liability. Ask for a copy of IG Wealth Management’s Estate planning guide for more information on how to plan for the potential tax liability at death.
What will be your legacy?
We all want to be remembered; and a thoughtful, personal estate plan can help ensure your legacy isexactly what you want it to be. Whether your focus is on maintaining family harmony, reducing stress for your loved ones, being fair and equitable, or maximizing wealth transfer – your efforts now will help ensure a smooth transition of your estate.
Don’t forget, it’s your money; and it took a lifetime to build. Gain peace of mind and make sure your loved ones carry out your wishes, your way.
1 Canadian Legal Wills survey results conducted within Canada by Google Consumer Surveys, June2016, among 2,000 adults aged 18 and older. Root square mean error of 4.7%.