Estate Planning Information
To start at the beginning, exactly what does estate planning in Canada entail? That is a good question given that there are no estate taxes in Canada (unlike the US). Estate planning is essentially a rational organization of your assets so as to minimize the impact of taxes and other levies upon your estate when you decease and to maximize the after tax result for your designated beneficiaries.
The complexity of this process will vary with the type and size of your assets and will require especially thorough consideration if there is a small business corporation involved and a family succession to the next generation is being considered.
As a result estate planning frequently requires a team approach which may include your accountant, lawyer, appraiser, investment advisor and your designated executor or executrix, who will ultimately be tasked with executing all your plans and wishes for your estate. Depending on your situation your financial institution or life insurance specialist may also be included.
As there are many aspects of a good estate plan to consider I have a handy estate planning checklist available for you that will help identify the types of issues to consider and the information that needs to be collected for working towards the plan. Once completed the checklist can be secured in a safe location (ie. safety deposit box) so that it may be available to your Executor as a handy resource guide in conjunction with your Will.
Once the assets and issues facing your estate have been identified then your options can be considered and discussed and a plan can be put into place.
- How will your estate be affected by probate fees?
- Are there significant capital gains that will be triggered on your final tax return that need to be considered?
- Are your assets all in Canada or are their international tax considerations?
- How will your company be affected?
- Are the use of trusts a viable option?
Estate Planning Checklist and Blog Posts
Many are the issues faced when preparing an estate plan in Canada despite the absence of an “estate tax”. To help you think about your situation further contact me for a copy of my free checklist and please check out some of my blogs on this topic. Also don’t forget that a plan that was put into place five years ago may no longer be appropriate if your situation or the composition of your assets has changed. Estate plans should be reviewed and updated regularly.
Estate Planning Services
I am happy to provide assistance and guidance in your estate planning by considering the tax implications that may affect your situation and by recommending steps that can be taken today to ensure your estate is structured in a tax efficient manner. If you require legal or other related services I am happy to refer you to my many colleagues in different fields who practice in the estate planning area and can provide all the assistance you will require throughout this process.