Estate planning is a term that is thrown around a lot. And although everyone agrees you should do it, what it is is never quite explained in thorough detail. Perhaps that is why so many people put off the task of planning an estate and writing a will until the last minute or, worse, until it is too late. Let’s detail not only what estate planning is but also what the end goals of planning your estate should be.
Estate Planning, What Is It?
Estate planning spans a range of fields, including the drafting of a will, establishing trusts, reducing taxes, advance medical instructions, instituting powers attorney, appointing trustees, and business succession planning. It involves creating a fully detailed plan that transfers your assets to their intended beneficiaries upon death. While it should be well-structured, it must also make room for flexibility.
Goals and Rewards
The goals of planning your estate and crafting a will are to reduce legal problems, avoid expensive litigation, and reduce taxes. This, for all its legal complexity, requires the assistance and guidance and expertise of seasoned legal professionals who specials in wills and estates. Comprehensive financial and asset management is offered during this process to ensure that no loopholes are left untied and no details are left out, which may prove to detrimental to these goals in the end.
Before You Start Planning Your Estate
You will need a lawyer whom you trust. If you do not already have a lawyer, find one in your area who specializes in estates and wills, specifically, to help you create a solid strategy that fits your unique needs.Don’t be timid! If you are not sure you have found the right legal representation, treat your first meeting with them as an interview. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for references from current clients.
In planning your estate and creating a will, you have a variety of options, which you can only utilize with the help of a legal team. It is wise to contact legal representation in your province and, more specifically in your region. Find a lawyer who specialized in the area of wills and estates in your area.Laws can differ from province to province so it is imperative to find one who knows local, provincial and federal laws, not to mention the loopholes that can either negatively or positively impact your efforts and goals. A great lawyer will help you to devise a strategy that is fully in your favour, and takes full advantage of all estate laws.
When creating an estate plan, it often starts with a listing of your assets – your property, investments, and pensions. This should be followed by a list of liabilities and debt. There must be a main objective when making a plan – whether to give to charity or to transfer properties to specific individuals. There should also be a list of conditions and events that you want to avoid at all costs, to prevent family disharmony. In filling the technical details of what to do for each step, the assistance of a lawyer is recommended.
I Don’t Have Much. Should I Wait?
Unfortunately, most Canadians do not have a will for a variety of reasons, ranging from procrastination to sheer lack of knowledge of the law. If a decedent dies without a will in Canada, the law of intestacy will take into effect, leaving little room for discretion and flexibility and a wide opportunity for discord among the loved ones left behind. It’s much more affordable and practical to have a will, no matter the size of your estate.