Death. There, I said it.
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person can face. Being left to navigate the estate process can be daunting. However, with prudent planning, the people left behind can grieve their loss and support the wishes of their loved one. Make a plan for those you’ll leave behind–it will give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
It’s never too early (or late) to plan for the unexpected. Read our tips for simplifying the lives of your loved ones upon your passing.
Beneficiaries can be selected on registered investment plans including: Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF). Review your investment plans with your financial advisor to ensure the beneficiary is still relevant. Your life insurance policy is an important part of estate planning. Review your life insurance beneficiary with your life insurance provider to ensure it is up to date. Undergoing a major life event should be a que to review your beneficiaries.
Meet with a Professional
Enlist the help of an estate planning professional. Financial Planners, Lawyers or Notaries are all professionals who can assist in this process. They can help you consider your estate plan from all angles to best protect and provide for your beneficiaries. When you are making your plan, be clear and direct with your wishes to your estate planner.
Never assume that one partner will “go first”. Never assume that your partner, or children know your wishes. Making assumptions adds pressure to your family after your passing, and can create tensions amongst remaining family members.
Confirm Title of your Home
If you own property, it’s especially important to fully understand the differences in ownership options. Real Estate is often a cornerstone of an estate, call your lawyer to go over the ownership options in full detail; know the differences and decide on the best fit. There are two ways that co-owners can be registered on title, each has different implications for the surviving owner.
Joint Tenants: When one owner passes away, the survivor automatically gets the deceased’s portion.
Tenants in Common: the interest of a deceased owner gets transferred to its beneficiaries in accordance with that person’s will.
All too often the conversation regarding finances and death are avoided, and there’s no wonder why. If you’re married or in a common-law relationship, you and your spouse need to have the “what if” conversation. As a parent, determine how your children will be taken care of after you pass. If you have adult children who will handle your estate, make sure they have an understanding of your financial situation.
Indicate the following: where your bank accounts are held, what your financial assets are, the details of your mortgage, if you own your home free & clear, what the ownership structure of your property is. If you are deferring your property taxes or not, and tell them where your will is located. The more your loved ones know about how you want your estate to be disbursed the easier it will be for the surviving family members.
None of these tips are staggering, but the value of understanding the information truly is! The Rule of 7 says it takes hearing something 7 times for it to really hit home. By taking the time to read this article, you can add another ‘check mark’ toward creating an estate plan. For more estate planning information check out the links below.