BY: FAZAAD BACCHUS
It’s a fact that we all have to die and when we do, we will leave our possessions to either a named beneficiary or to our estate. Some may not think too much of their estate but others (beneficiaries) might be thinking quite a lot about it. But your estate is not only made up of your car, accounts, insurances, jewelry, and home. It is made up of everything you own and also everything that you owe. At the time of your passing, nothing will be taken with you; the net amount will all be divided up according to your wishes or left to be divided according to Canadian law. Should you leave this important aspect of life’s planning to chance?
Are these some of the questions that you have yet to answer?
- How will I transfer my business to my son while my daughter receives very little?
- How can I ensure that my son who spends too much, has money until he is matured?
- Should I become disabled, how do I want to be taken care of, be at my home or a home?
- If I give all this money to my daughter, will her husband take it away from her?
- What if my own children spend the money I am leaving to my minor grandkids?
- What type of a funeral do I want, what church, mosque or temple?
- Am I leaving anything for a charitable organization?
- What about my capital gains tax, who should pay it off?
- Are they going to fight over money when I’m gone?
- Do I want to leave a lifetime income for my spouse?
Many people don’t plan because they don’t believe they have a lot of money, are too busy or are not sure the timing is right. However, at the time of a catastrophe, it puts the family in a whole heap of difficulty. Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy or the retirees, everyone is subject to the same hazards that can affect us all. Therefore, estate planning is best accomplished now when the individual is alive and of sound mind. You can always change your mind about your decisions or amend your documents accordingly later on.
So, let us examine how an estate planning exercise could be of benefit for you. The first step is to meet with a lawyer to design your will. Most people dread doing their will because they believe that they are inviting death, this could not be further from the truth. A will is not only for seniors, it is applicable to everyone. A will covers conditions of care where instructions are given to caregivers as to what must be done in the event of a disability or critical illness etc. It gives specific instruction on death regarding your disposition of wealth, who will, when will they inherit it and for how long.
After meeting with the lawyer, you may need to talk with a financial advisor to be able to put some insurance plans in place to assist with equitable distribution, capital gains tax and pay off any loans you have. Implement some of the long term care policy to take care of you etc. Act now and achieve your peace of mind.