Through estate planning, you make your wishes clear regarding who gets what, and under what terms, after your death. You can also make financial provisions for yourself and your family should you be incapacitated in an accident or illness.
A Will is not an estate plan and an estate plan is more than a Will. There are many tools that can be used to facilitate the succession of your assets, and these will be influenced by a number of factors, including the people who stand to benefit from your estate, the size and characterization of the assets in question and, perhaps most important, your intentions. An estate plan for individuals who’ve accumulated most of their wealth through a business will likely look quite different than one for those who’ve accumulated most of their wealth through registered and non-registered investment plans. Each of those individuals will have different risks and constraints placed upon the distribution of their estate. Ancillary concerns, such as tax planning, family law issues and – of particular concern for residents of Ontario and British Columbia – probate planning, come into play when an estate – distribution goals are established.
A checklist to help you start this process;
Designate your beneficiaries
Take an inventory of your assets
Research estate planning information
Review your estate plan periodically