Archive for September, 2012

Dos and Donts of Estate Planning

The Dos and Don’ts of Estate Planning

 

DO   Start now, it’s uncomfortable to confront our own mortality or incapacity   but that’s not something we can plan for! The world we live in is becoming increasingly characterized by legal action and government intervention, estate planning is something everyone should do and can plan for.

 

DON’T   Worry,  if you do nothing  the government will take over your estate and look after it for you .They will determine how to distribute your assets  and who will look after the kids, heirs and beneficiaries will have to take time and money to regain control  of personal or business assets .

 

DO involve professionals, how simple or complex your situation is will determine how and who you need to involve in the process. Your team may include an advisor, lawyer and tax planner.

 

DON’T avoid the inventory, a thorough documentation of all personal assets or property is the foundation of a good estate plan. Too overwhelming to start? , hire someone! Such inventories can also be invaluable in case of fire or theft, maximizing your claim and speeding the process.

 

DO review your insurance needs, Insurance can be a valuable estate tool to pay estate expenses such as income tax and or probate fees, replace income for those left behind or to leave a legacy or charitable gift.

 

DON’T skimp on a will.  If you have no assets or beneficiaries a hand written will may work for you however these are not accepted in all provinces. A formal will is typically drafted by a lawyer, signed by you and witnessed to ensure it is legally valid and meets your needs.

 

DO include powers of attorney for both property and personal care. At some point in your life you may be unable to make your own financial or personal care decisions. Prearrangement for someone to make these decisions according to your wishes means you are able to control your  circumstances .

 

DON’T forget to review and update. Changes to beneficiaries, marital status, insurance or financial plans,  personal and business property or government rules  all can impact how an estate is processed and taxed. The benefits of this exercise to your overall financial picture can help you with long and short term financial planning as well.

 

Your estate plan is as individual as you are. Taking the time to inventory and plan now will give you control over how you provide for those closest to or leave a legacy to. Good planning will avoid unnecessary taxes and administrative delays.

 

 

 One of many available local  companies  Intercept Home Watch  ( www.intercepthomewatch,ca) can provide a professional, reliable third party home inventory designed to thoroughly document all property. Your personal documentation is then presented in an attractive portfolio and CD ready for use in case of insurance claim for fire , theft or other damage ,prior to move or storage  or for use in your estate plan! 

 

Please note  this piece is for informational purposes only. Heather Lang/Cedarlane Financial Consulting/ FundEX Investments Inc have no referral arrangement with Intercept Home Watch and are not responsible for any actions beyond this point .