Estate planning should be a consideration for every investor’s wealth plan. We often talk about the importance of using tools to support the estate plan, such as a will, powers of attorney, insurance, trusts and the arrangement of the ownership* of assets. These help to protect, manage and distribute assets during your lifetime and after you are gone.
However, before putting these tools in place, an important first step is to set out your estate planning objectives. Even if you have already contemplated these objectives, perhaps a review is in order. These can change with the passage of time or as a result of major life events such as marriage, divorce, birth and death. As such, you may wish to revisit your objectives from time to time to make sure they reflect your current thinking.
Here are some questions that may help with this thinking:
1. What do I want my wealth to achieve during my life and beyond?
2. Will my family be able to maintain their current lifestyle if I am no longer able to contribute?
3. Who do I wish to be my primary beneficiaries? Should I appoint alternate beneficiaries in the event they predecease me?
4. How long do I intend to provide support to beneficiaries?
5. Are there significant assets that need to be addressed? If so, what is the ultimate goal for these assets? This may include a family business or vacation property, such as a cottage or cabin.
6. Will I need to structure assets to limit exposure to potential liabilities? — i.e., a beneficiary’s relationship breakdown, future family controversy or to protect against former spouses or creditors?
7. What will be my legacy? Is there a charity/cause I wish to support? Are there ways to preserve my legacy for future generations?
It’s Never Too Early (Or Too Late!)
There’s never a better time to contemplate your legacy than the present. Planning for how you will provide for the people and/ or causes you care about, while balancing your own goals, can happen at any age. We are here to work alongside estate planning specialists, so don’t hesitate to call. *In provinces, and situations, where applicable.