Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the icing on the proverbial financial planning cake.  After doing the work to follow a responsible cash flow strategy, implementing investment and tax planning techniques to maximize your Net Worth, Estate Planning is vital to ensure that Wealth is transferred on to your heirs and taxes are minimized.  This is particularly important for when the second spouse dies and assets cannot transfer to a surviving spouse tax free.  All financial assets are considered disposed of (hypothetically sold) on death meaning the triggering of capital gains on taxable property and the deregistration of all registered investments resulting in the balances of those accounts counting as income for the terminal tax return of the deceased.  With larger Wealth comes larger Tax Liabilities, all of which come due on death.  Effective Estate Planning reduces these tax liabilities and provides funding of the taxes that can not be avoided through assets of the Estate.  For a lot of clients, Estate Planning is the culmination of their life's work and protecting that legacy is of the utmost importance in every plan I create.  

Analysis

Estate Planning is very specific to each individual circumstance and that is why it is so important for the Estate Planning to be based on an overall holistic Comprehensive Financial Plan.  By not consolidating all factors and assets into one comprehensive plan the risk of inefficiency from overlapping and opposing strategies blurring the overall picture can increase.  A worse outcome is that a potential risk could be missed in the analysis causing a breakdown in one of the pillars bringing vulnerability to the security of your financial future.  Some of the variables included in Estate Planning include;

  • Is there a Valid Will?

  • Who are the Executors?

  • Are there any Powers of Attorney (for both Property and Healthcare)?

  • Who is your Attorney?

  • Are there Trusts (Inter-vivos, Testamentary, Alter Ego, etc.)?

  • Who are your beneficiaries?

    • location/tax or other special circumstances or needs​ (unfit to manage inheritance)

  • Client's objectives for inheritance and leaving an estate

Points of Interest

  • Ensure Will is valid and congruent with the clients goals

  • Determine the appropriateness of the power of attorney and executor(s)

  • Strategies to implement to address the needs and circumstances of the client's beneficiaries

  • Integrate the Estate Planning and Tax Planning strategies to protect the Wealth of the Estate

  • Does the projected after-tax Estate Net Worth satisfy the client's Estate Goals

  • Management strategy of Wealth for the next generation to ensure the legacy can pass on through multiple generations

Organizing Your Important Documents

In most cases one spouse handles the majority of the financial records in a household.  If that person was injured or died prematurely, would the surviving members of the family know where all of the important documents and records are kept?

I recommend creating a binder or folder of all your important documents and be sure to tell your family members and Executor(s) where the files can be found in the event of emergency.

Here is a list of some of the important documents;

  • Will

  • Powers of Attorney

  • Birth Certificate

  • Bank Account Statements

  • Loan Statements

  • Investment Account Statements

  • Insurance Policy Contracts

  • Funeral and Burial Instructions

  • Contact us for a more detailed list