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Category Archive for: ‘Estate Planning’

What is an Estate Freeze?

estate freeze

Do you have a farm or business that you’re looking at transferring ownership to management or your children? If yes, you should consider some of the benefits of a classic estate freeze. This strategy can help you manage your estate tax bill. For tax purposes, an estate freeze locks in the current value of the asset while passing on future …

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Plan ahead, none of us are immortal

Will

Draft a will: It’s best to have it drawn up by a lawyer but even a handwritten will that is signed and witnessed is better than nothing. This is valid in Alberta but must be fully in your handwriting and cannot be typed. Be sure it is very clear how you want your assets to be handled; family, charities, etc. …

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Some Good Reasons to Avoid Will Kits

will kits

For different reasons, some Canadians feel they can figure out their own tax and estate plans either by going online or with an inexpensive store-bought Will kit. Unfortunately many Will kits do not include key elements, without which their wishes may be misinterpreted. Worse, parts of the Will could be invalidated. For example, a father could have named his surviving …

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Are you up to the task of being an executor?

executor

From time to time clients ask me if I would be willing to act as the executor of their estate, but when they do so, I politely point out that as their financial advisor it would be a serious conflict of interest, so I have to decline.  An executor’s responsibility can be enormous, so I thought I would list some …

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Now’s the Time to Have the Courageous Conversations

courageous conversations

Every year I go to a life insurance school in Banff to listen to speakers from our industry that have experienced the illness, disability or loss of a loved one and the negative impact that it had on their family, their lives and their finances. One such speaker was Jane Blaufus.  She became a widow in sixty seconds when her …

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Do you have a Written Estate Plan?

estate plan

No one likes to think about their own mortality, but designing a proper estate plan can help to lessen the grief your loved ones left behind. Alternately, without a written estate plan, surviving family members are often saddled with the responsibility of making estate decisions without a clear understanding of the deceased’s wishes. The effects of poor estate planning can be far-reaching, …

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Why You Should Talk to Your Children about Their Inheritance

inheritance

When working with successful farm and small business families I find that there’s a general reluctance to talk around any potential sale, succession planning, what’s in the parent’s wills or any discussion related to inheritance.  At some point children can benefit from discussing how, when and why wealth is going to be transferred. For those of you who have a …

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What to Include in Your Estate Planning Checklist

checklist

As we age, so grows the importance and urgency of having an estate planning checklist every passing year. None of us want to think about dying, but if we don’t plan for our final days we could cause our family or friends we leave behind unnecessary stress, especially so at a time they’ll be grieving. Following is a list of …

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Why a Valid and Current Will is Essential

Will

We live in a complicated and litigious world, so it’s essential to have a will and to keep it current. There are some things to consider as life events happen and at different stages of life. If you get married or divorced, if you own a business or capital property, be sure to get proper legal advice. Your 20s and …

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Is there part of your estate you want to keep private?

estate

It can be difficult to find estate planning solutions that are suitable for the complexities of blended families. Consider a family who has a financially dependent disabled child, or a blended family with multiple step children, or someone wanting to leave money to people other than their immediate family or to a charity. Parents may be worried about creating family …

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Blended Families Finances

blended family

Blended families represent 12% of families with children in Canada. Many of these face financial and estate planning challenges, which can be further complicated by emotional factors. This can be both tumultuous and overwhelming, but there are ways to avoid these and streamline the transition to a blended family. Update your wills: One common mistake is neglecting to update wills …

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Having “the talk” with your adult children

children

Fidelity Investments recently interviewed a significant number of families who had a parent over age 55 and an adult child over age 25. The key findings are very interesting; what parents want and what their children think their parents want is very different. The result was that 40% of the families surveyed disagreed on the roles and responsibilities children should …

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Challenges for Executors Today

executors

Every day over a thousand Canadians turn 65. 70% don’t have current or valid wills, and 45% have not given any thought to their estate settlement issues. Very few understand the complex issues that their executors will face when dealing with their estate. Many people designate one or more of their children or a trusted family friend as their executors. …

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Keeping the Cottage in the Family

cottage

Owning a cottage provides a getaway, a place where friends and family can gather far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. When the time comes to figure out what will become of it after you die or are no longer able to use, family bliss can very quickly transform into worry or outright war. If the parent’s wish …

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Have Life Changes Impacted Your Estate Plan?

estate plan

I can’t stress the important of reviewing your estate plan on a regular basis, especially after any changes to your personal circumstances. Here are some questions you should ask yourself. Have you got divorced or re-married? Depending on your province of residence, divorce may affect the provisions of your will, but separation has no impact. Also depending on your province, …

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Estate Planning With The Impact of Increasing Land Values

estate planning

The latest Farm Credit farm land values report shows that Alberta had the 2nd largest increase of any province in 2015 of 11.6%, just behind Manitoba. So what’s driving these differences within provinces? Higher values of farm cash receipts can account for some of these variations. For example, 2015 receipts for pulses and special crops are estimated to be up …

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Watch For These Estate Planning Tax Issues

estate planning

  Many of us ditch our tax records after seven years not understanding this could cause tax issues in the future. We often run into situations when working with farm and small business clients where better record keeping would save a lot of detective work! Gifts and inheritances: Say for example you would like to gift some property to a child …

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Are You Planning on Leaving an Estate? Part 2

estate planning

Continuing from last week, here are some more points to consider to avoid stress and conflict when planning to leave an estate to family members. Avoid leaving conflicting documents: If you’ve signed an enduring power of attorney detailing how your assets will be dealt with in the event you’re incapacitated, that’s great! But do you have different powers of attorney …

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Are You Planning on Leaving an Estate? Part 1

estate planning

Leaving an inheritance to one’s heirs can make a significant difference to their financial well-being. But when money is involved, there are a number of factors to think about that can lead to stress and conflict with the family members unless steps are taken ahead of time. Here are some things to consider. We’re living longer: For a healthy 65 …

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The Minefield of Executor Liability

executor liability

Most people usually only act as an executor of an estate once in a lifetime. This means that there are a lot of executors out there doing their best to figure out what they are supposed to be doing, and it’s not easy. A major consideration here is that an executor is personally liable for any losses he or she …

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