Curated Content

Articles + Insights

15 Oct 2021
charitable gifts tax laws canada

Charitable Gifts on Death: Who can Claim the Donation Tax Credit?

The tax rules applicable to charitable gifts on death have changed considerably since 2016... it is noteworthy that Canada Revenue Agency’s long-standing policy to allow the spouse or common-law partner of a deceased individual to claim DTC in respect of the deceased’s gift by will is no longer applicable since these tax rules were adopted in 2016.

07 Oct 2021
digital accounts crypto bitcoin canada

Why Your Digital Footprint Needs To Be Part Of Your Will

The online footprint of Canadians is getting deeper every day, from e-mail and Instagram posts to brokerage accounts and bitcoin wallets. Yet, when it comes to estate planning, these digital accounts often take a backseat to more traditional strategies such as the tax-efficient transfer of the family cottage or how to pass along a tax-free savings account.

06 Oct 2021
$1.8 million to the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wills charities estate law canada

Holographic Alterations and Extraordinary Gifts

Setting out a plan in your estate for beloved pets is not uncommon and a reasonable step to take for your furry friend. At times, in the midst of the enthusiasm to ensure pets are looked after, one can get carried away, and the courts may step in... For those animal lovers amongst us, the recent decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia —in Henderson v Myler— may have caught your eye.

23 Sep 2021
vacation property canada estate planning

Vacation Property — Keeping it in the family

Planning on how to distribute your vacation home is an important part of an estate plan, as family members almost always have an emotional attachment to this beloved asset. As it happens, this is the topic of conversation around my kitchen table as my parents are in the middle of reviewing their own estate plans, and some of the focus has been discussing the division of the family cottage between myself and my two siblings.

15 Sep 2021
estate planning road map

Navigating Estate Planning With Your Family

What’s more difficult: building an estate or passing it along to heirs? Without the right road map, wealth transfer can sow family dissension that undermines decades of hard work and wise wealth management. To help families elude that outcome and successfully negotiate the challenges of planning for wealth succession, two experts at BNY Mellon Wealth Management offer advice...

06 Sep 2021
simple cremation plan canada

How to create a simple cremation plan in Canada

As of 2020 the cremation rate in Canada was at an all-time high (73% according to Statista) and it will likely continue to rise as families seek an affordable final arrangement for their lost loved-ones. Add to this... that people don’t want to financially burden surviving family with funeral costs, and it’s easy to see why setting up a simple cremation plan can be advantageous. This guide will explore some of the pros and cons of setting up a simple cremation plan.

02 Sep 2021
cpp survivor's pension inheritance canada

Canada Pension Plan: Survivor's Pension

If your spouse or common-law partner passes away, you, as the surviving spouse, may be entitled to collect a survivor’s pension from the Canada Pension Plan. But if the surviving spouse remarries and then the second spouse dies, can the surviving spouse receive two survivor’s pensions? The short answer is no. Why you can only get one CPP survivor's pension, even if you’re twice-widowed.

12 Aug 2021
estate goals end of life planning

Looking beyond a will: Estate planning as end-of-life planning

Estate planning is constantly evolving. It's a lot bigger than just the financial aspects of the estate; it includes family, feelings, values and goals. Good end-of-life planning encompasses a variety of things... Start the process with goals, knowing that financial and estate plans are going to continue to move. They’re living, breathing and changing.

19 Jul 2021
long term care insurance canada

Long Term Care Insurance — Canada

Long term care insurance can provide coverage if you become unable to care for yourself and need assistance to manage daily living activities. Long term care isn't just for seniors. You may become unable to care for yourself for 90 days or more at any point in your life. Long term care insurance can cover some of the costs of a care facility or a caregiver in your own home following an accident or illness.

16 Jul 2021
long term care insurance us

Long-Term Care Insurance Explained

It might be hard to imagine now, but chances are you’ll need some help taking care of yourself later in life. The big question is: How will you pay for it? Buying long-term care insurance is one way to prepare. As you make a long-range financial plan, the potential cost of long-term care is one of the important things you’ll want to consider. Talk to a financial advisor about whether buying long-term care insurance is the best option for you.

04 Jul 2021
charitable remainder trust CRT tax-saving tactics

The Overlooked ‘Triple Tax-Saving’ Tactic

Estate Planning advisors agree that one of the most underused estate planning strategies is the charitable remainder trust (CRT). New trends are making CRTs more attractive... Charities are getting more flexible about the types of properties they will accept. It used to be a struggle to get a charity to accept many types of real estate and anything not publicly traded. Now a charity is more likely to have staff or firms on contract that can evaluate, manage, and sell real estate and other types of property.

30 Jun 2021
why most canadians don't have a will

Why Most Canadians Don’t Have a Will

According to a poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute in 2018, 51% of Canadians did not have a will in place before the pandemic. While a large part of the Canadian population had previously ignored the need for estate planning, the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged people to change their thinking and realize the importance of doing so. In fact, many Canadians took matters into their own hands.

10 Jun 2021
prenup vs postnup estate planning

Prenup vs. Postnup: How Are They Different?

If you or your spouse is wealthy, expecting a large inheritance, or entering your second, third, or fourth marriage, divorce or death wouldn’t just mean heartbreak. Either one could also lead to some serious financial ramifications. In the case of a death, these are magnified if your spouse leaves children from a previous marriage. This is why more and more couples are opting to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

03 Jun 2021
joint ownership assets tax estate canada

Be Careful with Joint Ownership

Placing non-registered assets into joint ownership with right of survivorship is one of the most common methods of avoiding probate, and it can be effective in the right situation. However, there are some significant disadvantages with joint ownership that may outweigh the benefits. Fortunately, there are other options available. Before transferring any assets into joint ownership, there are a few important issues that you should consider.

03 Jun 2021
your social media legacy

Your Social Media Legacy: Pre-Planning Features on Google

What happens to your Google account when you die? Discover the pre-planning tools available to help you protect your digital legacy. Aside from Facebook, Google is one of the only other social media platforms that currently offers any legacy and pre-planning tools and features. Google’s feature is called Inactive Account Manager. Find out how it stacks up...

27 May 2021
7 Steps To Ensure A Successful Estate Plan

7 Steps To Ensure A Successful Estate Plan

Your estate plan is much more likely to be successful when you recognize and avoid the most common mistakes and take some key actions that often are overlooked. Most estate planners will tell you that the same estate planning mistakes and oversights recur with frequency, whether an estate is worth a billion dollars, a few hundred thousand dollars, or something in between.

19 May 2021
how to die well free e-book

How to Die Well

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the subject of death has never been so prominent. Many have experienced an unexpected loss. But, despite it being a universal experience, we still find conversations about death incredibly hard, making it one of the life events we’re least equipped to deal with. "How to Die Well" is a comprehensive guide to death, dying and loss, which aims to help us all become better prepared— emotionally, practically and financially.

18 May 2021
inheriting a house

Inheriting A House? Here Are Your Options

Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough, but it often becomes more complex when you have to figure out what’s going on with their assets and debts. If they’ve left behind a house, that’s one of the bigger responsibilities that you, as the person’s next of kin, will have to figure out how to deal with. Not only do you have to worry about the mortgage, but you’ll also have to contend with taxes, upkeep, sharing ownership with other stakeholders and more.

13 May 2021
handwritten will valid holographic

Holographic Will: Is a Handwritten Will Valid?

Handwritten wills that are written by the person making the will (called the testator), and have not been witnessed or notarized, are called holographic wills. The most common time for someone to make a holographic will is when he or she is in imminent danger of death, and has not already made a will or wishes to change a will. Find out more about if and when a handwritten will may be valid, and what is required for a court to honor such a will.

11 May 2021
protect your digital assets

Digital Assets Can Be Lost Due To Lack of Access

When undertaking estate planning, we usually prioritise the organisation of physical items— personal belongings, pieces of jewellery, cars, and property. But one area that can often be overlooked is the distribution of digital assets. It’s vital that these are attended to in much the same way that physical assets are treated... Protect your digital assets and ensure they reach the people who should have them.

07 May 2021
executor estate managing final wishes

How to Be a Good Executor

If you have agreed to serve as an executor... know the task you face: closing accounts, inventorying assets and distributing bequests. Even when it's a relatively simple situation —one spouse dies and leaves everything to the other— the paperwork is daunting. But when it gets more complicated, like if a widow dies and there are lots of children and assets, there's more. Much more. Follow these steps to ensure that, when the time comes for you to serve, you honor the deceased, serve his or her heirs, and do your job as efficiently as possible.

28 Apr 2021
essential documents healthcare directive

Why You Need a Living Will and a Healthcare Directive

Make your wishes known when you can’t speak for yourself. Pick an attorney-in-fact to carry out your directives: a spouse or family member, a close friend or a professional who knows you well. You should also have a conversation with your family, so there can be no misunderstanding if they’re faced with a situation in which you are unable to communicate.

28 Apr 2021
legacy planning intangible

7 Components of a Non-Financial Legacy

Most estate planning attorneys do a fantastic job helping their clients set up the proper legal structures to transfer financial assets, but they often don’t consider the intangibles. Legacy planning goes beyond your financial assets and considers your impact on your family and the world. Consider including these intangible components in your estate planning process.

27 Apr 2021
Essential Estate Planning Documents

Essential Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning is the systematic approach to organizing your personal and financial affairs to deal with the possibility of mental incapacity or death. Depending on your current family and financial situations, your foundational estate plan will include four or five essential legal estate planning documents... the laws of your state may dictate the creation of other estate planning documents.

20 Apr 2021
green funeral natural burial canada

Guide to Green Burial in Canada

A natural burial is likely to cost in the region of $3,000 to $5,000 taking into account the funeral home service charge and typical green burial plot pricing. This guide aims to provide information for those who have an interest in the options for a green funeral or natural burial in Canada. We have outlined resources and organizations that are dedicated to helping Canadians learn more about green death practices.

17 Apr 2021
diy online wills canada 2021

Online Will Kits in Canada: Review, Pros and Cons

You’d be surprised at how many Canadians don’t have a will. One reason for this slow uptake in creating a will may be due to the perceived costs, and another may be the reluctance of most people to discuss their own mortality with others. An online will —that has been done correctly— is just as legal as a will written by a lawyer. Here is a summary of the legal online will kits available in Canada, how much they cost, and the pros and cons of online will kits.

15 Apr 2021
planned giving charitable strategies canada

Charitable Strategies Can Help Build Your Wealth

Canadians are known throughout the world for their generosity and benevolence. With recent studies indicating a growing interest in philanthropy, many are wondering about different ways to give back more effectively to their communities. Building charitable strategies into your wealth management plan creates the ability to streamline your giving, and often help build additional wealth for you, your estate and the charities you choose to support.

15 Apr 2021
predatory lending

Consumer Reports: Probate Advances

Unlike other controversial options targeting financially strapped Americans —such as payday loans, tax refund anticipation loans, and litigation loans— probate advances have flown under the radar. While some financial products with sky-high interest rates have been subjected to intense scrutiny, and in some cases have been outlawed, the probate advance industry has received little regulatory oversight.

14 Apr 2021
predatory lending

Minimize Taxes: How to Leave Assets to the Next Generation

When planning to leave money to heirs, it’s important to weigh the tax burden of the account holder and the recipients. Tax-efficient withdrawal strategies can be helpful for people looking to spend down their assets in retirement while paying fewer taxes. It may also be beneficial to address strategies for a tax-efficient way to leave assets to your heirs—specifically income taxes...

09 Apr 2021
beneficiary designations retirement accounts

The Importance of Checking Beneficiaries for Spousal Inheritance of Retirement Assets

For married couples, checking the status of beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts may seem like a small detail, but failure to do so has potentially far-reaching and expensive implications. Without correct and updated beneficiary information, the surviving spouse is at the mercy of the custodian’s IRA agreement, the IRS, or both.

06 Apr 2021
Top Estate Planning Tips For Those Nearing Tax-Exemption Limits

Tips For Those Nearing Tax-Exemption Limits

The estate tax exemption, currently set at $11.7 million for singles and $23.4 million for married couples, is set to expire in 2026. It’s unclear what the estate tax exemption will be beyond 2026, but few expect it to stay as high as it currently is. Wealthy individuals nearing the exemption limits may want to look at ways of reducing the size of their taxable estate by maximizing their giving in a tax-efficient way.

05 Apr 2021
professional advisors

Preparing Your Heirs for Their Inheritance

How can you prepare your children to handle the assets they’ll eventually inherit? One strategy is to have them meet with your professional advisors. For example, they should meet with your accountant for an explanation of any tax planning tactics that you’ve been using, so those tactics can be continued after your death. If you have a broker or a financial planner, your heirs should meet with this adviser for a review of your portfolio strategies.

01 Apr 2021
preparation go binder

The Importance of a Go Binder

An estimated 56% of Canadian adults do not have any plans set in place. Roughly 29% do not have a will because they either do not know how to get started or believe they cannot afford one. This oversight can cost thousands of dollars in legal bills, bitter family disputes, as well as legal battles between siblings and/or their spouses. All of this could be avoided with a few simple conversations and the preparation of a GO BINDER.

19 Mar 2021
ownership transfer beneficiary vehicles ontario

How to Transfer the Ownership of a Deceased Person’s Vehicle to a Beneficiary in Ontario

In Ontario, when a person dies with a Will and bequeaths a vehicle to a beneficiary, there are certain steps the Executor is required to take in order have the vehicle transferred to the named beneficiary in the Will. The transfer of a deceased person’s vehicle to a beneficiary is a similar process as transferring the ownership of a vehicle to a family member as a gift.

16 Mar 2021
How Are Trusts Taxed? FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions— How Are Trusts Taxed?

With the tax season fast approaching, you may have questions about how your trust is taxed, who is responsible for tax filings, or how trust income taxes get paid. This blog will answer some common questions you may have about the taxation of your trust.

05 MAR 2021
prepaid-funeral

How to Create a Financial Funeral Plan

Death and taxes are a certainty and from a financial perspective, it's important to plan ahead for both. Funeral costs can create a financial burden for your loved ones if they're not prepared to pay for them. In 2019, the average cost of a funeral with a burial was $7,640 ...according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Establishing a funeral plan can make the process less stressful for them to deal with.

05 Mar 2021
key roles estate plan

How to get it right when naming an executor and filling other key roles in your estate plan

Regardless of how often you check your plan, remember that over time, individuals’ life situations —i.e., health or judgment— can change. So it’s wise to confirm that each person is still up for the responsibility that you’re expecting them to handle. Make sure the people you named still make sense.

02 Mar 2021
Money Talk Parents Podcast

Having the Money Talk with Your Parents

Managing your parents' finances can be a difficult situation. Doing so if you haven't laid down a plan for how to do it is worse. Cameron Huddleston, author of "Mom And Dad, We Need To Talk: How To Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances", joins David Muhlbaum and Sandy Block on Kiplinger's "Your Money's Worth" podcast.

01 Mar 2021
deemed disposition tax canada

Deemed Disposition Tax — Canada

Canada’s deemed disposition tax, which is similar to the estate tax in the U.S., is deferred when assets are transferred to or held in a spousal trust for a surviving spouse. Creating a trust allows you to transfer assets while you are still alive, which avoids probate costs when you die. If you die without making a will, the Canadian province in which you lived decides how your assets will be distributed.

26 Feb 2021
trustee vs executor what is the difference

What is the Difference Between a Trustee and an Executor?

The executor and trustee are both fiduciaries, but they have a legal obligation to different things. You can appoint the same person to be trustee and executor. Trustees and executors can also be beneficiaries, which might create potential conflicts if they can't maintain an impartial interest when there are additional beneficiaries.

20 Feb 2021
letter of intent instruction estate planning

Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction can help to simplify a complex inheritance structure for your heirs. But you don't need to have a complicated estate to benefit from one. As with any other estate-planning document, a letter of instruction should be updated at least annually and kept in a safe place. It should be easily accessible by your relatives or executor.

18 Feb 2021
letter of intent instruction estate planning

Two Key Steps to Protect Yourself

As you know, I am passionate that the most generous gift you owe to yourself is to have a few essential legal documents in place to protect yourself, and your loved ones. So, you can imagine my frustration when I recently saw survey results that reported 7 in 10 adults don’t have a health care proxy (also known as a durable power of attorney for health care) or a financial power of attorney. If you have yet to create these documents... do it now.

08 Feb 2021
Money Talk Parents Podcast

5 Tasks To Do Now, While You’re Still Well

Doing nothing could result in losing control over your affairs while you’re still alive, and undesired confusion and anger after you’re gone. You can help prevent these unwanted consequences by making these decisions while you’re still healthy, documenting them, and communicating them in advance to your loved ones. Here are four decisions you should move to the top of your priority list.

05 Feb 2021
Personal Trustee

Shining a Spotlight on the Role of a Personal Trustee

The pandemic has put a spotlight on legacy planning by highlighting the need to get estate plans in order — a task most of us have admittedly neglected. Factor in the prospect of a lower estate tax exemption in the near future and an aging, affluent baby boomer population and it seems that 2021 is the perfect time to focus on estate planning, including creating, updating and finalizing formal estate planning documents.

31 Jan 2021
federal estate tax reform

Estate Planning in Light of Tax Reform: 2021 Update

While there is still a federal estate tax (and state estate tax in some states), the federal exemption has dramatically increased; but there is an expiration date. This temporary increase provides a limited window of opportunity to reduce your taxable estate by making additional gifts. You should consult with your advisor and estate planning attorney in order to determine the optimal way to make those gifts, and also to determine whether your current estate planning documents require revisions in light of the recent changes.

25 Jan 2021
inheriting property mortgage

Inheriting Real Estate: 5 Situations You May Encounter

There’s nothing more difficult than losing a loved one. While pushing through the stages of grief, you may also have responsibilities to manage, like sorting through belongings or taking on inherited real estate. Do you have to keep the inherited real estate? Are you responsible for paying the mortgage? What happens if you can’t afford the home?

23 Jan 2021
credit card debt after death

What Happens to Credit Card Debt When You Die?

What happens to you after you die? One thing's for sure: You won't have to worry about paying your bills anymore. For your survivors, it's another story. Will they be responsible for paying off your credit card balances? In most cases, no. When you die, any credit card debt you owe is generally paid out of assets from your estate. Here's a closer look at what happens to credit card debt after a death and what survivors should do to ensure it's handled properly.

12 Jan 2021
cryptocurrency bitcoin estate planning

Leaving Cryptocurrency Through a Trust

When you have cryptocurrency, you need to consider how to include this asset in your estate plan. If you don’t, your beneficiaries may not be able to access your crypto-investments after you die. Using a trust to transfer cryptocurrencies keeps information about your coins private and out of probate... saving your beneficiaries time and money.

06 Jan 2021
guardianship eldercare estate planning

Elder Law— Guardianship Alternatives

The standard under which a person is deemed to require a guardian differs from state to state. Generally, a person is judged to be in need of guardianship when he or she shows a lack of capacity to make responsible decisions. Because guardianship involves a profound loss of freedom and dignity, state laws require that guardianship be imposed only when less restrictive alternatives have proven to be ineffective.

06 Jan 2021
role of trustee: who is best positioned to take care of my family after I’m gone?

Deciding Who Should Fulfill the Role of Trustee

Serving as a trustee is an undertaking that requires not only adherence to administrative requirements and commitments, but also one that is greatly enhanced by depth of knowledge, intuition, and concern for the wellbeing of trust beneficiaries. You should therefore entrust this responsibility to someone who recognizes the true value of things and takes the time to get to know you and your family.

30 Dec 2020
how to broach the conversation

Talk Estate Planning With Your Parents

We often think of estate planning as the process of designating who receives what assets and how to settle any debts. But an estate plan also involves detailing who would make decisions should a parent be incapacitated... Encourage a still living parent to engage with you and get the paperwork handled. You want this in place before there’s an issue. You need to know where all this information and paperwork is actually stored.

18 Dec 2020
debt liabilities estate planning

Take Steps to Keep Assets Out of Creditors’ Reach

While creating a will or a trust will certainly clarify and simplify the disbursement of your belongings when you die, these tools will not prevent a creditor from making a claim on your assets. To effectively prevent claims, you’ll need to make sure that assets never enter your trust or your estate in the first place. Here are ways to keep assets away from those arenas.

16 Dec 2020
high net worth estate planning guide

Quick Guide To High-Net-Worth Estate Planning

Not only are the nuances of estate planning fairly complicated, but things in the industry are also constantly changing, which often makes it difficult to keep up. From tax laws to tax liabilities to other issues that affect the family, there are so many things you have to consider. How do you navigate this complex process?

03 Dec 2020
IRA beneficiary designation form

Beneficiary Designation For Your IRA

The bank, brokerage firm, or mutual fund family acting as custodian undoubtedly has a standard beneficiary designation form; it’s likely that you took only a moment or two to write in the name of your spouse or the names of your children. If you have a large asset, shouldn’t you devote more effort to planning for its ultimate disposition?

02 Dec 2020
generational wealth gap

Charting The Growing Generational Wealth Gap

As young generations usher into adulthood, they inevitably begin to accumulate wealth. However, over the last 30 years, the U.S. Federal Reserve shows that older generations have been amassing wealth at a far greater rate than their younger cohorts. With more wealth being concentrated in aging populations, how and when will the pendulum swing back?

02 Dec 2020
average funeral cost

How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

Funeral costs have been rising steadily since the 1980’s. Today, it’s not uncommon for the average funeral to cost up to $9,000 or more depending on whether the body is buried or cremated. Pre-planning for events you know will occur can help take some of the pain out of those expenses for yourself and your family – including funeral expenses.

26 Nov 2020
unpaid debt estate planning

Will Family Members Inherit Your Debt?

What happens to unpaid debt when a person passes on? There are laws governing exactly how the debts of decedents are handled. They vary from one state to another. In most cases, you will be able to protect your family members from creditors with advance planning. Find out how to protect your loved ones from facing creditors during an already difficult time.

25 Nov 2020
CRT estate planning charitable remainder trusts

Benefits of a Charitable Remainder Trust

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) lets you convert a highly appreciated asset like stock or real estate into lifetime income. It reduces your income taxes now and estate taxes when you die. You pay no capital gains tax when the asset is sold. It also lets you help one or more charities that have special meaning to you. You also receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction.

14 Nov 2020
life insurance covid-19

Estate Planning: A 7-Step Checklist of the Basics

You don’t have to be rich to need estate planning. One goal is to ensure beneficiaries receive assets in a way that minimizes estate tax, gift tax, income tax and other taxes. Here's what estate planning is and 7 things you can do to get started.

13 Nov 2020
life insurance covid-19

3 Life Insurance Moves to Consider as COVID-19 Surges

With U.S. hospitalizations due to COVID-19 hitting new highs, sadly, some families are reviewing life insurance coverage in case of the worst. Not all may be aware of options that can help a policy owner who is seriously ill, or could soon become so. Here’s a rundown of three life-insurance features that can help in case of serious medical issues.

12 Nov 2020
infighting over inheritance

Executor of a family estate? Here’s how to avoid infighting over inherited wealth

After a loved one passes, one of the biggest hurdles families face is passing wealth onto the next generation. Unfortunately, family dynamics can spur conflict and infighting among descendants. Over 75% of advisors polled by Key Private Bank said that the hardest part of estate planning is navigating interfamily dynamics.

09 Nov 2020
pet care estate designations

Planning For Your Pet’s Care After Your Death

If you died tomorrow, what would happen to your pet? Many pet owners can’t answer this question, and the tragic result is that their companion animals end up neglected and abandoned. Every pet guardian needs a basic plan to pass caretaking responsibilities and ownership of their pet to a person or organization they trust. And the more unique your pet’s needs, the more important it is that you make a plan for it.

02 Nov 2020
debts death estate creditors

Debt After Death: What You Should Know

Some types of debts are forgiven when you die, and others could haunt your family until they’re paid off. The length of time creditors have to make a claim against the estate depends on where you live. Therefore, you should get familiar with your state’s estate laws, so you are well aware of which rules apply to you.

02 Nov 2020
covid-19 funeral guidance

Holding Services During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability of friends and family to come together in person and grieve in typical ways. This is true regardless of whether the person’s death was due to COVID-19 or some other cause. Family and friends are finding alternate ways to connect, support each other, and grieve after their loss. They understand the need to possibly plan for additional memorial services when COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.

30 Oct 2020
prepare your heirs to inherit

Readying Your Children For Their Inheritance

Financial literacy is top of mind for a growing number of families thinking about their estate. Preparing your children to be sound stewards of your wealth goes beyond the technical aspects of estate planning. Teaching them the skills, confidence and independence they need to manage wealth —whether inherited or earned— is just as important. Prepare your wealth to be transferred and prepare your heirs to inherit it.

27 Oct 2020
bank accounts beneficiaries

Adding Beneficiaries to Checking or Savings Account

Your heirs may get tied up in probate dealing with specific financial accounts unless you designate beneficiaries. You can add a beneficiary or a payable-on-death (POD) to most savings and checking accounts. Sometimes your bank will ask for this information when you’re opening a new account, but they don’t always. Call the bank directly to ask how you can designate beneficiaries for each of your accounts.

26 Oct 2020
estate planning team

Game Plan: Who Is On Your Estate Planning Team Roster?

Estate planning is a team effort and the lineup of individuals and professionals that you choose for your team roster will determine the integrity of your plan for years to come. An all-star lineup for your estate plan should include a team of individuals who will work together to design and implement your legacy goals. To maximize your strategic wealth goals, you should consider drafting the following individuals...

22 Oct 2020
inherit house mortgage

Does The Home You Inherited Include a Mortgage?

When a family member passes away, there are often questions about wills, inheritances and how best to settle financial affairs. It can be a stressful time, and complicated, especially when real estate is involved. What happens if you inherit your loved one’s home? What if they still have payments to make on their mortgage?

19 Oct 2020
estate planning documents

5 Key Estate Planning Documents You Need

Estate planning is a vital component of every financial plan, regardless of the size of an estate. Unfortunately, the need for estate planning is commonly overlooked. This often results in wasted dollars and emotional hardship that could otherwise be minimized with proper advance planning and action. There are five estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth.

13 Oct 2020
is your life insurance sufficient

Planning For Your Family’s Future: Is Your Life Insurance Sufficient?

It is important to periodically review your life insurance to make sure that you have a policy that will stay in-force long enough to accomplish your estate planning objectives. Recent actions by the life insurance industry to increase costs associated with some policies make it very important to have your insurance reviewed.

08 Oct 2020
Reject Refuse Disclaim Inheritance

When You Should Refuse an Inheritance

Although seemingly counterintuitive, there are many reasons why a person who is to inherit assets under the terms of a loved one’s estate may wish to disclaim (that is, refuse) the inheritance. Some of these reasons are completely overlooked by heirs who stand to gain from disclaiming. If you are considering disclaiming your inheritance, it is important to discuss your intentions— once you have disclaimed an inheritance, you cannot change your mind.

28 Sept 2020
funeral conceirge services

What Services Does a Funeral Concierge Offer?

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming. A funeral concierge works on your behalf to educate you on the funeral services available, then gets you the best prices at your funeral home of choice. One of the biggest benefits of a funeral concierge is that they’ll help you select only the services you want.

25 Sept 2020
beneficiary designations

Does Beneficiary Designation Override a Will?

Beneficiary designation exists for vehicles, bank accounts, and smaller properties, but they are most utilized in retirement accounts and life insurance policies. A beneficiary designation provides the basis for an immediate transfer of any assets to that beneficiary upon the original owner’s death. Beneficiary designations bypass the probate process and are subject to unique federal and state rules.

23 Sept 2020
estate-plan-roles

Personal Representative vs. Trustee

If an estate plan includes a trust, those concerned should understand the fundamental differences between these two roles. Both are types of "fiduciaries" with a responsibility to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries, but each plays a very different role in an estate plan.

22 Sept 2020
estate planning checklist

Estate Planning: 16 Things To Do Before You Die

There's more to estate planning than simply writing a will. Accounting for all of your assets and wishes will ensure your plan is executed smoothly after your death. Along with implementing your plan, you must make sure others know about it and understand your wishes.

17 Sept 2020
beneficiary designations

Designating Beneficiaries: 5 Common Mistakes

Chances are you have a beneficiary. They are pretty common, from retirement accounts to trusts to wills. And they figure prominently in life insurance policies. But just as common are certain mistakes that get made around beneficiary designations. Here are five that financial professionals like to warn people about.

15 Sept 2020
life insurance estate plan

Life Insurance | An Essential Part Of Your Estate Plan

Whether your estate is small or large, life insurance is an essential part of your estate plan and should not be overlooked. Life Insurance provides liquidity to your estate and it increases the value of your estate. Benefits are paid quickly to your beneficiaries, once a death claim form and original death certificate is provided to the life insurance company.

01 Sept 2020
choosing executor canada

Who’s in Charge? Key Considerations in Choosing Your Executors

People often only consider close family members, but they may not always be the best choice. Surprisingly, there is no licensing for an individual person to act as an executor and no professional education or qualifying course, yet the role has enormous responsibility as well as liability, and is increasingly complex given changing laws and tax rules.

24 Aug 2020
Estate Planning Checklist For Canadians

Estate Planning Checklist For Canadians

Because most people don’t like to contemplate their own mortality, estate planning is often a neglected aspect of financial planning. But as the population ages —with approximately 6 million Canadians currently over 65 years of age— it’s a topic that deserves more attention. Let’s take a look at what is involved in estate planning and how to get started with an estate planning checklist.

14 Aug 2020
estate planning basic rules and guidelines

10 Basic Rules For Your Estate Planning Checklist

Your estate plan never is final. The property you own and its value changes. The members of your family change through births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. Your goals might change. You might be inclined to leave more or less to charity or specific heirs over time. There aren’t many strategies that should be in every estate plan. But there are some basic rules and guidelines that apply...

11 Aug 2020
life insurance beneficiary minors

Naming a Child as a Life Insurance Beneficiary

Avoid naming minors as life insurance beneficiaries. Instead, choose a reliable adult or designate a trust account as your policy’s beneficiary to ensure your children’s financial protection. Creating a strong estate plan —and updating your life insurance policy beneficiaries after every major life event— will keep your kids financially safe.

07 Aug 2020
transfer heirloom real estate properties

How to Transfer Real Estate to Family, Heirs and Beneficiaries

Heirloom real estate includes vacation homes or other second homes, farms, a longtime residence and similar properties, but not business or investment properties. There are ways you can ensure a property remains heirloom real estate. But have candid conversations with the next generation to ensure they understand the full picture and are interested in retaining the property.

03 Aug 2020
why you need estate planning

Estate Planning: Why You Absolutely Need it

One goal of estate planning is to make sure your wealth and other assets go to those you intend (and not to others), with particular emphasis on minimizing taxes so that your beneficiaries can keep more of your wealth. But good estate planning also can reduce family strife, and provide clear end-of-life directives should an individual become incapacitated. Here’s why you absolutely need it...

20 July 2020
getting your affairs in order

Getting Your Affairs in Order

Preparing and Organizing Legal Documents for the Future— it's this kind of planning that can make all the difference in an emergency. Getting your affairs in order can be difficult, but it is an important part of preparing for the future, for you and your loved ones. It is important to gather as much information as possible to help ease the process.

20 July 2020
filing a life insurance claim

How Does a Life Insurance Beneficiary File a Claim?

Losing a loved one is never easy, but falling into financial hardship can make a loss even more difficult. Filing a life insurance claim can take at least one worry off of your mind, and ensures that the policyholder’s premium payments over the years don’t go to waste. Filing a life insurance claim is straightforward and easy if you’re prepared.

13 July 2020
estate sale inheritance

How to Hold an Estate Sale on Your Own

Considering the percentage professional estate sale companies take, you may be wondering if you can do it yourself. Planning an estate sale takes much longer than you expect it will, especially if it's your first time. It's a lot of work, but you absolutely can hold an estate sale without hiring a pro.

26 June 2020
Wealth Manager vs. Financial Advisor

Wealth Manager vs. Financial Advisor

When it comes to your finances, going at it alone can sometimes be intimidating as you try to come up with a game plan. But if you want professional help, make sure you’re consulting the right expert for your needs. Many independent financial advisor firms offer wealth management in addition to their other services. You can also find wealth management services from banks and other big financial institutions.

18 June 2020
auto insurance estate inheritance

What Happens To Auto Insurance When Someone Dies?

In the event that a policyholder passes away, his or her heirs should understand what will happen with the automobile insurance so that they can take the appropriate steps. The insurance company should be notified right away following someone’s death.

16 June 2020
life insurance statistics

Is Life Insurance Tomorrow’s Problem? Findings from the 2020 Insurance Barometer Study

For the last decade, Life Happens and LIMRA have come together to understand the “financial pulse” of consumers as part of the annual Insurance Barometer Study. This year’s study reviews 10 years of consumer data on life insurance and related financial issues, providing a point of view from January 2020, before COVID-19 significantly impacted the U.S.

11 June 2020
life insurance estate planning

Protect Your Estate With Life Insurance

Life insurance may play a vital role in an estate plan because insurance proceeds can be counted on to provide liquidity when it’s needed. With proper planning, insurance money can pay expenses such as estate tax and keep other assets intact.

08 June 2020
estate planning 101 key steps

Estate Planning 101: Your Guide...

It's never too early to start working on how your things will be handled once you pass away. But it's an ongoing process, and your documents will need to be updated throughout your life. Here are some of the key steps in getting started.

08 June 2020
charitable donations in lieu of flowers

Memorializing With a Donation

Have you ever noticed that some people request donations "in lieu of flowers" after a loved one passes? The idea behind it is that the flowers will fade over time, but a donation will help someone who is living. It's always a good idea to follow the wishes of those requests. Sometimes the request is for a specific charity, while others request a donation to your favorite cause.

27 MAY 2020
technology estate planning digital

Why You Must Include Technology in Your Estate Planning

The technology you use regularly must be incorporated into your estate planning. The key issue for all your online activities is there is no paper trail unless you create one. Unless you tell them, your executor and heirs have no way of knowing about your e-mail accounts, electronic banking and brokerage accounts, online social networks, blogs, and more.

19 MAY 2020
estate planning checklist 12 steps

Estate Planning Checklist: 12 Steps You Need to Take

You need an estate plan. This is true even if you don't have a lot of assets. It's also true if you're young, or if you don't have close family members. Estate planning means preparing for the inevitabilities of life. People get sick or hurt… become incapacitated, unable to make important decisions on their own, or unable to live independently. Estate planning helps to protect your family and your assets in any of these unfortunate situations.

18 May 2020
estate planning documents divorce

Estate Planning Documents to Update When Getting a Divorce

If you are considering divorce or beginning the process of getting divorced, you must review your estate plan to make sure it reflects your life change. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how far along the divorce is or how long the action has been pending, the law considers you to be legally married until the judge signs the final decree ending the marriage.

16 MAY 2020
7 Things to Consider When Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Children

7 Things to Consider When Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Children

Naming someone to serve as a guardian for your child may seem overwhelming. While there is a lot to consider, the bottom line is that you'll need to put these seven considerations in order of priority for you and your children.

09 May 2020
covid-19-estate-planning

Estate Planning During The Covid-19 Crisis

Across the country, Americans are reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. But as volatility impacts all areas of our daily life, many wealthy Americans are looking at their estate planning to see if there are any unique opportunities. While this may seem to be an odd time to focus on estate planning, when it comes to wealth transfer, timing is everything.

30 Apr 2020
covid-19-estate-plans

Pandemic highlights importance of estate planning

In these challenging times, estate planning can be at the forefront of ensuring that clients and their loved ones are protected. Certain high-risk groups may be more motivated to update existing plans or establish estate plans for the first time. Others who have perhaps put them on the back burner now want to get their plan over the finishing line.

20 Apr 2020
tips for choosing an executor

Choosing an Executor

Your executor is responsible for protecting and administering your estate and distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. These are key duties that require a substantial amount of time and effort — and the ability to make capable, and financially responsible decisions. Choose someone who is willing and able to carry out the many required tasks. Ask the person before appointing them.

28 Mar 2020
estate-planning-mistakes

Estate Planning Mistakes People Make Over and Over

You should talk to your heirs while you're still alive about your wishes. Confused loved ones and stressed families must endure long, complex legal processes when a proper estate plan isn't put into place, and lawsuits may ensue.

18 Mar 2020
inter vivos gifting assets before death

Why and how to transfer ownership of your estate during your lifetime

No one likes talking about their own death. That may be why most people are hesitant to talk about estates, wills and inheritance with their loved ones. What if we told you that instead of passing on your possessions to your loved ones after you die, you could pass on your estate during your lifetime? Here’s an overview of this option in Q&A form!

16 MAR 2020
great-wealth-transfer

What the Great Wealth Transfer Means For the Economy

The baby boomers hold more than half of all the wealth in the United States. As they age they’re going to begin transferring that wealth to their adult children. That comes with significant consequences for personal finances and the financial advice industry, not to mention ensuing generations.

03 MAR 2020
intrafamily loans debt liabilities

Intrafamily Loans: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are many tools in the bag of any good estate planner, one of which is the intrafamily loan. Most planners will recommend this option, depending on a family’s internal dynamics and the liquidity needs of the patriarch/matriarch. Before you lend a family member money, make sure you understand how these loans work. And examine some pitfalls that can make these loans perilous.

24 FEB 2020
beneficiaries bank accounts

Bank Accounts & Beneficiaries: Ask Your Institution

You may wish to convert your checking account to a POD (payable-on-death) account if you want someone specific to receive the money in it. POD accounts bypass the estate and probate process. To claim the money, the beneficiary simply has to show up at the bank, prove his or her identify, and produce a certified copy of the account holder’s death certificate.

14 FEB 2020
preneed-prepaid-funeral

What Is a Prepaid Funeral Plan?

A prepaid burial plan isn’t as much a product as it is a preparation strategy. It’s simply taking steps to layout everything connected to your funeral, and prepaying the funeral home. Create your plan now so loved ones don't need to do it later.

10 FEB 2020
firearms estate planning

Special Estate Planning Challenges: Firearms

Estates with firearms present unique challenges because guns are one of the most regulated products in the country. In addition to federal laws, every state has its own rules regulating the possession, transfer and storage of firearms. If firearms are a part of your estate, it is critical that you speak to a professional to protect your inheritance. Without proper planning, your beneficiaries, executors and trustees could easily break the law.

04 FEB 2020
estate planning in the digital age

Power of Attorney: 5 Different Types Explained

A power of attorney, or POA, is an estate planning document used to appoint an agent to manage your affairs. There are several different types. Each serves a different purpose and grants varying levels of authority to your agent. The most commonly used types of power of attorney are: Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, General Power of Attorney, Limited Power of Attorney, and Springing Power of Attorney.

03 FEB 2020
estate planning in the digital age

The Ultimate Guide To Estate Planning In The Digital Age

Given the nature of our digital world, today, as well as the privacy, security and identity theft precautions you must take, the last thing you want is a notepad in a drawer somewhere. Estate planning is essential. Learn how to be prepared for what is inevitable!

31 JAN 2020
How to Distribute Family Heirlooms

How to Distribute Family Heirlooms

The sentimental value of the family heirlooms is priceless, of course. But it’s important to establish a financial value as well. With careful planning, you can make sure the items are divided among your heirs exactly how you choose, without causing conflict among your loved ones. From pieces of art to antique jewelry, here are tips on how to distribute family heirlooms after death.

30 JAN 2020
passing on your guns ontario

Passing On Your Guns— Ontario

One of the most thoughtful things you can do for your loved ones is to plan for the dispersal of your firearms should you be unable to do so. If you own firearms, but aren’t licensed, then you’re in illegal possession. For the sake of your spouse, executor, and inheritors —who shouldn’t have to deal with that complication— your "PAL" (Possession and Acquisition Licence) is essential to the development of an estate plan.

21 JAN 2020
what is a living tust

How Living Trusts Can Safeguard Your Assets

A living trust is a type of estate planning tool that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a separate fund while you're still alive. Figuring out who should get your assets after you die can be tough. You want to ensure that each heir gets the right amount, in the way you want to give it and without unnecessary delays. For this reason, a living trust can be very attractive.

10 JAN 2020
estate-planning-pets

How to Make Plans to Provide Care for Your Pet

If you have a pet, you undoubtedly take steps to be sure he or she is cared for if you go on vacation. Consider what would happen if you became incapacitated without provisions for your pet. The best way to take precautions and ensure your pet will be well cared for is by doing some estate planning.

01 JAN 2020
life insurance canada how it works

Life Insurance in Canada— How it Works

Far too many people wince at adding the cost of insurance to their list of fixed expenses. But, life insurance is ... the best way to ensure financial security for yourself and/or your family in the event of an unexpected life event. If you have an income, and you have assets of any kind, you need insurance. And if you have a family, life insurance is a necessity to protect them in case something happens to you.

19 DEC 2019
funeral costs price list study 2019

2019 NFDA Study Shows Funeral Costs Not Rising As Fast As Rate of Inflation

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) released the results of its latest Member General Price List Study, which shows that the median cost of a funeral has increased 6.4% over the past five years to $7,640 and the median cost of a funeral with cremation has increased 7.3% over the past five years to $5,150. The report further notes the overall rate of inflation has increased 8.4% over the same time period.

27 DEC 2019
debts mortgages liabilities

How To Handle Debts and Mortgages in Your Estate Plan

Grieving the loss of a loved one is a grueling process, and being responsible for their finances after they die adds further levels of responsibility and anxiety. One matter that is often overlooked is how to deal with debts and mortgages left after death and who is responsible for the payments. Knowing what preliminary steps to take when organizing finances, however, can bring needed relief.

28 NOV 2019
inheriting firearms in Canada

Inheriting Firearms— Canada

If a court has prohibited you from possessing firearms, you cannot take possession of firearms left in an estate. But generally —for a reasonable amount of time, while the estate is being settled— you are still able to act as executor and transfer the firearms to someone who can lawfully have them.

25 NOV 2019
inheriting-property

What Happens When You Inherit a House?

Inheriting a house — while a generous gift from a loved one — kicks off a process that can be fraught with emotion. You’re likely receiving this property as a result of a loved one’s death, and the financial decisions that come with inheriting property can be stressful and confusing.

21 NOV 2019
Why a Will Is Not Enough

Why a Will Is Not Enough

A will goes into effect only when you die. In the event that you are merely incapacitated, a will won’t help you one bit. A will certainly has its place in your must-have documents file. When you die with only a will, it does not make it easy to pass assets to your heirs. A will must be authenticated by a judge before it is considered valid. This happens via a court procedure called probate. The probate process takes time and money.

20 NOV 2019
important-papers

Important Papers to Locate After Someone Dies

Family members will need to locate all of the decedent's important papers. It will give family members and, if necessary, the estate attorney assisting the family with settling the decedent's final affairs, all of the pertinent information needed. Copies of the documents are fine unless otherwise noted.

04 NOV 2019
funeral-conversation

How to Make Your Funeral Wishes Known to Your Loved Ones

The Final Arrangement Documents You Need for Your Funeral Wishes. Creating a final arrangements document can ensure your final wishes are carried out upon your death and ease the burden of making those difficult decisions for your loved ones.

25 OCT 2019
intergenerational-wealth-transfer

How Much Inheritance Is Too Much?

Some wealthy parents are concerned that —after a certain point— money passed down will be damaging to the next generation. The worry is not necessarily a groundless rich-person neurosis. Whatever today’s parents and grandparents decide to leave to the next generations, hopefully the heirs will know what’s coming— and be ready for it.

02 OCT 2019
death-of-parent

A Financial Checklist After the Death of a Parent

No one thinks dealing with the loss of a parent will be pleasant. We expect a morass of unfamiliar and uncomfortable emotions. We anticipate unprecedented grief. But no one warns us about how much math and paperwork it entails.

17 SEP 2019
estate-planning-canadians

Canada’s Deemed Disposition Tax— What You Need To Know

The deemed disposition tax, which is similar to the estate tax in the U.S., is deferred when assets are transferred to or held in a spousal trust for a surviving spouse. Creating a trust allows you to transfer assets while you are still alive, which avoids probate costs.

17 SEP 2019
inheriting motor vehicles

Death and Titles: How to Obtain Ownership of a Deceased Person’s Car

If at all possible, have the transfer made or documented thoroughly when the owner is still alive. It will save you a lot of time, frustration, and extra work. Old titles don’t have a field that specifies a beneficiary, so transferring isn’t so simple. That’s not to mention the trouble that an existing lien on the car or a challenge of ownership could bring.

19 Aug 2019
secure important documents

Best Ways To Secure Important Financial Documents

Let’s face it, when it comes to storing important financial documents, a shoe box under your bed doesn’t really cut it. Estate-planning documents — such as wills, trusts, living wills, medical directives and powers of attorney —are very important... So where do you keep them safely secured?

14 Aug 2019
funeral-on-a-budget

11 Ways to Make a Funeral Affordable but Not Cheap

Funeral planning is something most of us would prefer to avoid. But it’s important to take control of this process. If you don’t, you might needlessly spend thousands of extra dollars in costs... whether you’re planning your own or someone else’s. Here are some great options.

04 AUG 2019
secure important documents

Digital Asset Inventory

So much of our lives take place online, but we don’t often think about what happens to our digital assets when we’re no longer here to manage them. It’s important to plan— to prevent any financial or sentimental losses. And while laws and regulations surrounding data and digital assets are still evolving, there are steps you can take now to prepare.

31 July 2019
family cottage inherit canada estate

Cottage Co-Ownership Predicament: Who Will Inherit?

Relaxing lake-side at the cottage is a classic Canadian past-time, but at the end of the day it leaves many families with the same cottage co-ownership challenge: who’s going to inherit it? Unfortunately, the sentimental value intertwined with many cottages makes them a common target for estate disputes and conflicts. So how can Canadians prepare their estate to make sure fond cottage memories don’t fuel a heated legal battle?

17 July 2019
charities estate planning

What is the Difference between a Nonprofit Organization and a Charity?

While all charities are nonprofits, not all nonprofits are charities. A nonprofit is based on the simple premise that none of the corporation’s net profit will benefit any individual. A charity is an organization with philanthropic goals that aims to improve the quality of life for the community and beyond.

09 July 2019
inherit-car

Inheriting a Classic Car

When we talk about inheritance, we usually think about land, money, or a house, but rarely a classic car which is why a lot of people have no idea on what to when they inherit one, especially if they have no idea about its value, its make and model, or have little idea about cars altogether.

28 JUNE 2019
selling an inherited car

How To Sell a Deceased Family Member’s Car

Being thorough and organized is key to selling a deceased family member’s car. This guide can help you through the process of selling that car and relieve some of the stress that accompanies the death of a loved one. Taking care of these details will help you navigate the legal process, ease your stress, and sell the vehicle.

14 MAY 2019
emotional-blocks

5 Emotional Blocks to Estate Planning

Death and taxes are two subjects that are both emotionally charged. Nobody wants to talk about either one of them. Do you break out in a cold sweat when discussing your will? Can you bear to think about whether there will be enough money to live on if your husband dies? Can you even think about which kid will run the business when you die; let alone talk about it in a family meeting?

11 MAR 2019
digital-estate-plan

How To Create A Digital Estate Plan

The digital world is now an integral part of our personal lives. Few people consider their digital assets and what should be done with them when they pass away. This is where having a digital estate plan in place can be a great idea.

04 OCT 2018
notary

12 Documents to Prepare Now for Your Heirs

It's crucial for you to have important documents ready. At best, loved ones are left trying to sort through paperwork while dealing with grief. In a worst-case scenario, your heirs may miss out on life insurance benefits and tax deductions, or overlook accounts because they don't know they exist. Being prepared for the inevitable is not only a smart thing to do, it's also a kind thing to do.

02 July 2018
self storage unit death

The 4 D’s of Self Storage: Death, Divorce, Dislocation, and Downsizing

Just because a storage tenant passes away doesn’t mean their rights pass away with them. Unless you have the codes and keys to get into the storage unit on your own, you will need to obtain some legal papers to access the unit. Management can’t unlock the unit for anyone unless they have an official death certificate and court letter.