Estate planning

Estate Planning and the Will: Legal Doesn’t Mean Effective

In light of COVID-19, many people have turned their minds to their estate plans.1 One news report indicated that a Canadian online will-creation site saw an increase in sales of 700 percent from the same period last year.2
A will is the cornerstone of any estate plan, and creating one on your own is not difficult these days using the support of a will kit or online tool. However, there may be good reasons why more thoughtful planning can be […]

Prioritize Estate planning

Make Estate Planning a Priority in 2020

Have you made your estate plan a priority? If not, why not resolve to do so for the year ahead.
An effective estate plan ensures the efficient distribution of assets according to your wishes to maximize the legacies to your family or other beneficiaries. With the realities of complicated family structures or business ownerships, and the intricacies of tax and succession laws, forward planning can help promote efficient administration and minimize expense down the road.
A well-prepared estate plan offers benefits […]

probate fees

Keep Probate Fees in Perspective

In Canada, we don’t have a “death tax,” where significant taxes must be paid on the transfer of wealth at death. Consider that in some countries like the U.S. or Japan, estate tax can reach rates of up to 40 and 55 percent respectively!1 Yet, over the years, probate fees have become a de facto estate tax.

Estimated Probate Fees on a $1M Estate Value by Province2

Probate is the process by which a court confirms the validity of the will […]

Estate planning with TFSA

What Happens to a TFSA When you Die?

Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are a great investment option with tax free investment growth and tax free withdrawals. Upon death, what happens to your TFSA depends on who the beneficiary is, or if you have named a successor holder.
TFSA Successor Holder or Beneficiary
Let’s look at the difference in tax consequences and probate, assuming the following designations:
Successor Holder – Spouse
Only your spouse can be designated as the successor holder of your Tax-Free Savings Account. The successor holder is designated instead […]

Choosing a Beneficiary

Do You Need to Revisit Beneficiary Designations?

Naming a beneficiary is a big decision that may sometimes be overlooked. At some point in your life, you may buy a life insurance policy or start a new job with a retirement plan and receive a form that includes a section for the names of your beneficiaries. Many people, unprepared, leave it blank or complete the section without much thought. If years have gone by since completing account paperwork, it may be time for a review. Here are […]


Have you been Diagnosed with Underliving?

Underliving is a common condition mostly found among retired Canadians, and it is caused by the individual’s inability to give permission to spend their own money. This inability is due to lack of planning—not knowing what you have—and what you can spend.
This lack of planning pushes people toward the default behaviour of hoarding money, as they are unsure of how long it will last. It is natural to hoard cash when you have no plan, and one should not […]


It can be Taxing to be a Snowbird

With the days growing longer and nights warmer, it may be easy to forget the polar vortex that froze many parts of Canada this winter. For some, the cold prompted an escape to warmer climates down south. If you are a “snowbird” — spending considerable amounts of time in the U.S. — you need to be aware of U.S. income tax implications.
Even if you have no U.S. tax to pay, you may be subject to various U.S. tax filing […]


The Role of the Executor: A Large One

Have you been named as an executor of someone’s estate? If so, you have been entrusted with a very important role. It is often a large responsibility, so here are some things to keep in mind:
It is time consuming.
Settling an estate generally takes about 18 months on average, but may extend to several years depending on complexity. Duties can include arranging the funeral, finding, itemizing or even managing estate assets, applying for probate (where applicable), notifying financial institutions of […]


Financial Considerations: Losing a Spouse

A spouse’s death can be one of life’s most devastating events. Complicating matters, at a time when a surviving spouse may feel as though they are unable to deal with life’s routines, many new tasks will arise. Seeking the support of others may be important, whether it be family members, trusted friends or even professionals.
Here are some financial steps that will need to be taken during this difficult time:
Take Care of Immediate Action Items

Make funeral arrangements or carry out […]