Make a List of Your Assets and Liabilities

To start the estate planning process, you must understand your financial situation today. This means that you must review your affairs by listing your assets and liabilities to determine your net worth and potential tax liability exposure.

You'll need to gather your important financial papers. You'll also need to have your most recent tax returns, bank statements, investment and retirement account statements, any loan documents and copies of your insurance policies or coverage that you have in place from work. Usually, any work-related employee benefits are listed in an employee handbook or guide. Ask your Human Resources representative for an up-to-date copy of the benefits handbook and verify your personal coverage.

The objectives of listing your assets and liabilities are many. You want to ensure that, as you begin to make decisions about bequeathing certain assets, you understand their values and any potential outstanding tax liabilities. Additionally, by making a current list of your holdings, you can review any current beneficiary designations which may need to be updated, depending on your current situation. Finally, reviewing your current insurance coverage will assist you in determining if you have sufficient coverage in place or if there is a shortfall.

Once you've completed the assessment of your net worth and have calculated the after-tax value of your estate, the next step in the process is to determine your estate planning objectives.

As experienced financial services professionals, assisting clients to formulate their estate plans is just one of the many financial planning services we offer our clients. A CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisor will be able to assist you in getting started.

Use our Find An AdvisorOpens a new window in your browser. tool to locate a CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisor near you and take the first step to achieving the financial future you want.