Determine Your Objectives
Depending on where you are in your life cycle, the estate planning process will mean something different to each of you. You may be at the stage when planning your retirement is your most important financial objective, or you may want to focus on providing for the needs of your family. Generally, estate planning objectives can be defined in many different ways.
Let's review the four key objective categories, as follows:
Many times, the financial obligations of your estate are overlooked. If you want to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes you'll need to ensure you've made adequate provisions in your planning. Have you taken steps to ensure that your plans include tax-effective strategies? Further, do you have enough liquid assets to cover your potential tax liability?
Provision for your family
Providing for your spouse and dependents is often the motivation for undertaking estate planning. Not only do you need to consider provisions for joint death in your planning, you also need to appoint a guardian for your children. Do your plans ensure that your family will be able to maintain their current lifestyle should something happen to you?
Plans for disposition of your estate
Considering how to bequeath your assets is also an important part of establishing your estate plan. Trusts are quickly gaining popularity as a way to ensure family members are provided for. Have you listed your family heirlooms and personal property for giving to specific individuals?
Charitable giving plays an important part in many estate plans. Canadians give generously to charitable organizations. The recent changes by the Canada Customs Agency are making charitable giving easier for many Canadians. Would you like to make provisions to support your favourite charity?
You need to decide what you wish to accomplish: minimize and defer taxes; provide adequate liquidity in your estate to provide for taxes; bequeath your property and holdings either intact or in cash. The estate planning objectives and subsequent strategies available to meet your goals vary from the simple to the complex. A CIBC Wood Gundy Investment Advisor can assist you in developing a plan to best suit your personal situation.
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