FREE Estate Planning Checklist: Don't Leave It Too Late

Use our FREE estate planning checklist, before it's too late

There comes a time in every person's life when he thinks it may be time to think about his mortality. This may be the time to create an estate planning checklist.

Use our estate planning checklist to prepare for your assets to be divided

Life changes every day. Your personal situation may be quite different today than it was ten years ago.

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The older we get, the more we think about our mortality. Unfortunately, we will not live forever. This fact becomes clearer and clearer the older we get.

Reality Begins to Bite

In your teens and early twenties you may have ridden on roller-coasters, climbed mountains and strayed into much deeper water than your swimming skills could accommodate.

The older you get, the more fear holds you back from these extremes. You begin to value life more. You also start to think more about what will happen to your loved ones once you are gone.

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You're Not Invincible

Everyone feels invincible when they are young. Gradually, this invincibility disappears and reality sets in. Even more so after having a child or two. This is when estate planning becomes very important.

You start to worry about taxes and you have to incorporate inheritance tax estate planning into your calculations. The last thing you want to do is leave your loved ones with debts. Especially tax debts on your property.

You have spent a lifetime building your empire. An estate planning checklist was probably the last thing on your mind. But now is the time to decide what will happen to it when you pass on.

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Your estate planning checklist:

  • Make a will. This should be top of your estate planning checklist. Far too many Canadians don't have one. If you die intestate (without a legal will present), the distribution of your estate will be decided by the courts, according to specific laws of your province. This might not be even close to how you would like to have your assets divided.
  • Update your will. Once you have made one, it is very important to keep your will up to date. You can use a lawyer to help you draft a will. There are also several will kits available for you to create a will on your own. Just make sure it is legal and binding.
  • Prepare a mandate. A mandate is not part of estate planning, but it can come in very handy. It names someone to care for your affairs in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions on your own. Without a mandate a family member may appoint himself, which may not be in your best interest, or that of the rest of your family. Many notaries and lawyers will suggest you draw up a mandate when you draft your will. There are different types of mandates, so make sure you chose the right one for this purpose. Others may be invalid in the case of incapacity.
  • Review joint bank accounts. In Quebec, a joint bank account becomes frozen upon the death of a spouse, until the estate is settled. Most people do not know this and are put into quite a predicament not being able to access their money. Some banks may allow you to withdraw limited funds for expenses, such as to cover the cost of the funeral. But, it can still be quite frustrating and restrictive to have your funds frozen. Consider separate bank accounts instead.
  • Arrange and pay for your funeral in advance. This ensures you will have the type of funeral you would like. It also takes a huge burden off your loved ones. Planning a funeral when nerves are already affray is very difficult. Your family does not want to appear cheap, but funds may be limited. This always leads to conflict amongst your survivors. A prepaid funeral takes away the stress.
  • Deposit any bonds or shares you may have into a securities account. If you have been keeping your bonds or shares in a safety deposit box, this could be very inconvenient. Depositing them into an investment account enables the security registration process to begin while you are still alive. This also makes them easier to liquify and to sell. This makes distribution easier.
  • Inventory your financial assets. Make a list of all of your bank accounts, the numbers and where they are located. Also list any estate planning insurance policies or investment accounts you may have. Keep your inventory where your family will be able to find it, along with your will maybe.
  • Consider donating to a charity. Some people do not realize what a huge impact a charitable donation can make. Recent changes in tax laws have made donating to charities in your will very beneficial. Consulting with a professional tax adviser can help you decide the best way to contribute to the charity of your choice.

More About This Topic

Family Business Succession Planning Menu

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When you've ticked all the boxes on your estate planning checklist, you can ensure all of your assets are accounted for.

Contact Us For a FREE Consultation

We're waiting to help you! Click here to ask any question. We'll contact you with your answer, or to make an appointment, free of charge.

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