Estate Planning Considerations for the New Year
It’s a new year and a new decade. It’s the right time to review and update your estate plan.
At Smartwills.ca we have three key goals with our Will and Estate Planning process — to ensure our clients and their families:
- are protected during life (Powers of Attorney);
- have a plan for minor children (guardians); and
- transfer assets in an efficient and organized manner to also help in reducing Probate fees (Wills and Trusts).
As we begin a new year, here is a list of items that may trigger a review or update of your Estate Plan:
- Updated Balance Sheet – As you create or update your balance sheet, consider sending it to your Estate Planning Team so that all assets are included within your plan.
- Important Life Events – Births, deaths, health events, marriage, divorce, raises, moves, health issues, and other events may necessitate a call to your Estate Planning Team.
- Five-Year Review – We recommend clients review their Estate plan every three to five years to determine whether any changes are needed. Over the years, laws change, beneficiaries mature, fiduciaries need updating (Power of Attorney and Executor/Trustee), and your Estate Planning preferences evolve.
- Beneficiary Designations – One or more of your accounts likely has beneficiary designations (life insurance, TFSAs. RRSPs, RRIFs, brokerage accounts). Unless you take action, your Will and/or Trust may not control who receives the assets in these accounts. Review your beneficiary designations to ensure they align with your estate plan.
- Living/Revocable Trust Funding – A benefit of a Living Trust (also known as a Revocable Trust) is the avoidance of probate. Probate is only avoided if your trust is fully “funded.” This means that all assets are either owned in the name of the trust or pass by beneficiary designation/operation of law.
- Business Operations and Sale – Clients owning or investing in closely-held businesses may experience changes in business valuation, operations, or owners. Consider whether any changes impact your Estate Plan.
- Buy-sell – If you own an interest in a private company, you should confirm the buy-sell adequately protects you and other co-owners during life and at death.
If you have any questions about your Estate Plan, feel free to call us at Smartwills.ca. A quick review of your plan ensures you and your loved ones are properly protected as we start a new year.
To make your Estate Planning easier, check out our SmartAccess Kit
Ministry of the Attorney General Glossary of Legal Terms
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.