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Prevent confusion and heartache for family members by planning your estate now

You may have heard it before, but it bears repeating: it's never too early to start planning your estate.

Why? Life is unpredictable, and if you don't have a proper estate plan, the naming of an executor and the distribution of your assets will be determined by the legislated scheme -- and not necessarily by your wishes or the needs of your family.

The reality is that failing to plan your estate could cause much confusion and heartache for family members, perhaps especially if you have been married more than once or if you have children from another relationship. For more on that, please see our previous post, "Using trusts to meet the needs of blended families."

If you haven't yet started planning your estate, you are not alone. As we've discussed previously, a poll by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce showed that 47 per cent of Canadians have never communicated their estate plans to their heirs, yet 50 per cent of Canadians expect to leave behind assets upon death.

Given the immense wealth transfer that is expected in the coming decades, it behooves Canadians to plan now to preserve assets for future generations and guard against unnecessary tax obligations -- not to mention the potential confusion and family strife that can result in the absence of a comprehensive plan.

For more on modern estate planning in Ontario, please see Hagel Lawfirm's estate planning overview.

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