Managing your finances raises a number of topics but none as tricky and potentially unpleasant as planning for your family and finances in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated. Understandably, these questions are often ignored by many—but don’t fall into the trap of avoiding these difficult matters. Good estate planning will help to make sure that your wishes are carried out, and your family and assets are well protected.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the key areas that you should consider when designing your estate plan:
Choosing a guardian – One of the most important considerations is who you select to become the legal guardian of your children. This is a very personal and complex decision, and you will consider several unique factors depending on your circumstances, but your principal concerns might be how physically able the person is to look after your children, as well as such practical matters as how close they live to you and their personal and financial situation and stability.
Life insurance and trusts – Life insurance gives your family the financial security to continue their standard of living and fulfil their dreams in the event that you are unable to provide for them yourself. Life insurance payouts can be used in various ways, including paying off debts, paying for college education, or simply helping with general living costs.
A trust is a way of specifying how and when you wish to pass money and other resources to your children. It can be an excellent way of ensuring that their inheritance reaches them before the age of eighteen or twenty-one, unlike a court-controlled process, as you will stipulate who manages and distributes the funds.
· Choosing someone to make decisions on your behalf
It is crucial to make sure that somebody trustworthy is nominated to manage and distribute your various assets according to your wishes. This executor can be anybody, though spouses, older children, or close friends are often common choices. Similarly, if you become too sick to make your own decisions about your finances or your family’s care, a health care directive and a power of attorney will give you peace of mind and go a long way towards protecting your assets.
Now that we understand the key areas that should be considered in estate planning, here are some of the important components or documents involved in the process:
· Will, trusts, and beneficiary forms
Both a will and a trust should detail your assets and how you wish them to be distributed when you die, as well as assigning the guardians of your children. However, one benefit that a trust has over a will is that a trust does not have to go through probate prior to being executed, as well as the option of coming into effect before you pass away; it remains under your control and transfers the role of trustee to someone else when you decease.
Beneficiary forms are slightly different. They assign designated beneficiaries to specific financial accounts such as mortgages and bank accounts. As this information holds more legal weight than a will itself, it is crucial to regularly ensure that your beneficiaries are up to date.
· Durable powers of attorney
The term power of attorney refers to the person, or persons, that you nominate to act on your behalf in the event that you are too ill to state or carry out your own wishes. There are various ways to implement this; you can choose specific individuals for particular roles, such as one person to look after your finances and another to make your healthcare decisions, or you can designate one person full power of attorney to manage all of your affairs.
· A living will
Not to be confused with a last will and testament, a living will details the type of medical treatment that you wish if you were ever incapacitated. Along with a general or healthcare power of attorney (see above), this document is known as your advance health care directive, and it not only provides you with peace of mind that your medical wishes will be respected, but it also gives direction and support to your family when faced with difficult decisions about your care.
· Letter of intent
This document is not legally binding and can offer a more personal touch alongside an official will or trust. As the letter is less formal and binding than other documents, many people use it to express their wishes about more personal aspects such as their requests for funeral arrangements, or even preferences and desires for how their family should be brought up.
As with any financial arrangement, changes over time, not only in process and legislation but in your own personal situation, mean that it is imperative to keep your estate planning strategy under review and regularly updated to ensure it’s fit for its purpose and accurately reflects your wishes.
On Thursday, October 22nd, 2021 Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the “final pivot in delivering the support needed to deliver a robust recovery.” This “Final Pivot” means several existing pandemic support programs for individuals and businesses will expire on October 23rd, 2021:
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
In their place, the Federal Government announced:
The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program – provides support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75%.
The Hardest-Hit Recovery Program – provides support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, would support other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50%.
Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit – provides $300 a week to workers facing local lockdowns, including those not eligible for Employment Insurance. Anyone whose loss of income is due to their refusal to follow vaccination mandates will be excluded from accessing the aid.
Full details are in the links below:
You may have had life insurance for as long as you can remember. You wanted to make sure that your family would be taken care of and be able to pay their bills if anything happened to you.
But now that you’re older and your children are grown – and hopefully your mortgage is paid off – you may not feel you still need life insurance. This could be a valid assumption; however, there are some circumstances under which it may still make sense for you to have life insurance. They are:
You still have substantial debt.
You have dependent children or grandchildren.
You want to leave a financial legacy.
You still have substantial debt
No one likes the thought of leaving their loved ones to pay their debts if they die. If, however, someone has co-signed a loan with you – for example, for a mortgage or a car – and you die, then they will be on the hook for the entire amount.
If you have life insurance and name your co-signer as the beneficiary, this will help relieve any financial burden your death could cause them.
You have dependent children or grandchildren
If you have children who are still dependent on you because they have a mental or physical disability, life insurance can be an excellent way to ensure they will still have access to funds after you die. Lifelong care can be expensive, and a life insurance benefit will go a long way to helping fund it.
You may have grandchildren you are caring for or that you are not responsible for but want to leave money they can use towards higher
education. A life insurance payout can be a great way to help a grandchild get a good start in life without having to go into debt.
You want to leave a financial legacy
You may not have dependent children or grandchildren but still want to leave them something when you die. Life insurance can be a great way to do this without cutting back on your spending during your lifetime.
Life insurance can also help make sure that you have something to leave everyone in your will. If you have a family cottage, it can
be complicated to leave it to more than one person or family. Life insurance gives you the option to leave one person or family the cottage and another person or family the cash equivalent.
We can help you!
If you’re unsure whether or not it still makes sense to have life insurance after the age of 60, we’d be happy to sit down with you and talk through your options. Give us a call or email us today!