4 Steps to Begin Your Estate Planning

Planning estate matters is more than just having a will. It’s a serious matter that needs a lot of time and consideration. After all, in the event of anything happening to you, you want to make sure that your family is well looked after. You want to make sure that your finances go to exactly where it should, according to your specifications.

Of course, everyone is different and every situation is different. It could be a matter of drafting a will to something complex that can include an estate freeze. It can also be difficult to do, because you are in a way, facing your own mortality, so talking to family and friends can help. Here are some tips about estate planning that can help.

1. The First Step

In the event that you die with no will, provincial legislation dictates how your assets are distributed. Other family members will have no control and feel helpless. You need to make a detailed list of your liabilities and assets. Any family business or property will require careful attention, making sure that family is well taken care of. If you’re getting married, separated, divorced or remarried and you have a current will, you should take a look at it and perhaps make amendments.

2. Appointing A Representative

You need to make sure that you have a capable representative, such as a power of attorney for your estate. This person will now have the authority and power that is similar to yours in dealing with your wealth. If you have children, you may need to appoint a guardian or trustee, whose duties could last up to 18 years and possibly longer. You should consider appointing 2 people who are qualified, in every position. They should be authorized with powers to do their duties just as you would. You also need to make sure that the person being appointed by you is alright with it, as it can be a huge responsibility that comes with its own headaches.

3. Jointly-Owned Asset Strategy

One popular method of estate-planning is to register an asset, for example, a property or an investment account under the name of an adult child in conjunction with your own name. This is for convenience and also to reduce probate fees. This, however, can end up being a double-edged sword, as it can lead to complications. Although the intentions may have been good, it could lead to unhappy consequences. You need to weigh the options, as it could be a good way to go about it, but there could be issues with income tax.

4. Freezing Your Estate

Depending on the situation, you might decide to freeze the growth of your account and even all your other assets. Any future growth can be passed on to family members like a child or grandchild for them to benefit. This is considered to be non-reversible.

It can be difficult to start the process of an estate plan, but the only way is to get it done. Once you take that initial step, the rest will follow. Hiring an estate lawyer is a good first step too, as you will receive the best advice every step of the way. Think of everything that is important to you. Family is a huge consideration, but you may hold a charitable organization close to your heart as well and you want to be happy about your decisions to give some peace of mind.

Jenny Holmes

Hello, I'm Jenny! Most of my close friends call me Jen - except my boyfriend who calls me Jennifer just because he knows how much that name irritates me. (Grrr!) My boyfriend and I have been dating for nearly a decade. The two of us run So Happi Together so happily together. Don't tell him I said this - but I'm the better writer!

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