Estate Creation Plan
Preparing an estate plan is the best way to ensure that happens smoothly
Formally and legally communicating your wishes can protect your estate from legal challenges in the future and preserve your peace of mind today.
1. Review your assets and debts
Do an inventory of everything you own, including home and vacation property, possessions, valuables, special collections, vehicles, registered and non-registered investments, and a current valuation of any businesses you own. Then total your liabilities like mortgages, loans, debts or personal obligations such as family support. This will provide a balance sheet of your net worth. Our Estate Planning Record Keeper is a useful tool to organize this information.
2. Consult your advisory team
To ensure your wealth transfer is managed properly and preserved carefully, you’ll need the advice of professionals you trust. Your financial advisor, lawyer and accountant or tax planner will form the basis of your team. Your financial advisor should be able to help align everyone and bring in any specialists as needed, such as insurance and investment advisors.
3. Decide who gets what
You’ll have a number of things to consider. What do you want your spouse, children, relatives or close friends to have? Do you want your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance money immediately or at some future date through payments from a trust? Are there significant family assets, such as a business or second residence, that need to be addressed? And who really deserves your prize album collection?
4. Make a will and name an executor
The foundation of any estate plan, a will is the road map everyone has to follow. It’s an important legal document and should be prepared professionally. Your will outlines how assets such as investments, real estate and possessions should be distributed, identifies beneficiaries and names the executor, the individual or organization chosen to administer the estate. If you die without a will (intestate), the province steps in to arbitrarily administer your estate and will collect the maximum in taxes. It’s a good idea to also prepare a Living Will, a written declaration of what life-sustaining medical treatments should be used in the event you become incapacitated.