Estate Planning

Estate planning” encompasses many topics, from looking at how and when one will retire, to reviewing life insurance policies or employment benefits, to considering how one wants to be cared for if they can’t care for themselves, or who will manage affairs if they can’t, to comparing assets with lifestyle expectations, to making a will, to reviewing investment portfolios and debts, to making arrangements to care for someone who will need assistance, or to perhaps gifting to a charity.

Effective estate planning helps ease one’s own concerns about finances and health care – and eases concerns for caregivers and executors. Estate planning gives clarity about one’s situation and means, and allows one to direct one’s life (and death).  

There may be a few professionals involved in estate planning – from an accountant to an investment advisor to a lawyer to an insurance advisor.

Typical Estate Planning Documents

  • Making a will
  • Making an enduring power of attorney
  • Making a health care representation agreement
  • For some, trust agreements or other deeds may be recommended

 Verifying Ownership of Assets

  • Check who the registered owners of  land and investments are
  • Check who the registered owners of vehicles, boats and RVs are

 Verifying Beneficiaries

  • Check who life insurance policy beneficiaries are
  • Check who are named as beneficiaries of RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs
  • Note that RESP plans do not name beneficiaries (like RRSP, RRIF or TFSAs do) and provisions to deal with RESPs can be made in a will

 Some Estate Planning Considerations

  • How would you ideally like to spend your time?
  • How will you realistically spend your time?
  • Is downsizing a home or job for you?
  • Current health status
  • What are the sources of retirement income?
  • Realistic estimates of living expenses
  • What is the fair market value of assets?
  • What is the total amount of debt?
  • Review medical or dental insurance policies
  • Cost or availability of travel insurance
  • Investment advice on risk and rates
  • Realistic estimates on investment returns and advisor fees
  • Seek advice on contributions to or withdrawals from RRSPs, RRIFs or TFSAs
  • For blended families, arrange adequately for the spouses and their respective families
  • Make arrangements for charitable gifts, if desired
  • Succession planning if one is a business owner
  • Inquire about RDSPs (Registered Disability Savings Plan) for an adult child with disabilities
  • Have an idea of how much it will cost for income tax, accounting fees, legal fees, and probate fees on death and review whether there are safe and efficient ways to reduce these costs
  • If one’s holdings are complex or family disputes are anticipated, professional advice is recommended
  • If a person holds property or investments outside of Canada, professional advice should be sought
  • There is no “one size fits all” estate planning program or scheme – estate planning is different for everyone and should be reviewed regularly

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Lois A. Potter Law Corporation
201-5710 Teredo Street
British Columbia,
V0N 3A0

P.O. Box 1669
Sechelt, British Columbia
V0N 3A0

Phone: 604-885-4151
Fax: 604-885-5362