Even when someone dies, his or her debts must be paid. Those payments come from the person's estate. It's only after those debts have been taken care of and other expenses like funeral costs, taxes, legal fees and probate fees, if any, have been met that beneficiaries receive what they have been bequeathed. There are some prudent ways individuals can minimize those payments when estate planning in Canada.
No one likes to think about getting sick, but making plans for unforeseen events could make things much less stressful for loved ones. Estate planning could include an advance care directive -- a document that stipulates a person's wishes regarding medical care should the individual be incapacitated and thus unable to make those decisions. Those in Canada who have a serious illness might wish to discuss their wishes with their health care teams as well as family members, but having a document in place is a wise move.
There is an old adage that says the only certainties in life are death and taxes. In estate planning, the two seem to walk hand-in-hand, but that doesn't mean the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) should turn out to be an estate's primary beneficiary. For those who don't wish to leave almost half of their assets to the government, savvy estate planning is crucial. When someone dies, the CRA deems their assets as having been disposed of even if they haven't, in fact, been sold. Those assets are then taxed using a fair market value.
In the film Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara realizes there is nothing more valuable than the land which is owned by her family. Many people in the throes of estate planning in Canada should take into consideration that property may be one of the assets their heirs would most like to have. Sometimes that can cause problems, considering the family farmhouse usually can't be split in half.
Some common law couples assume that because they live together and share their lives as though they are legally married that the law views their situation in the same light. In terms of estate planning issues in Ontario, that is not always the case. Even if a couple has lived together for decades as a common law husband and wife, they have different property and legal rights, including the sharing of a matrimonial home or any other property.
Successful business owners are busy people and consequently might put important things directly unrelated to their businesses on the back burner. Such could be the case with estate planning. Ontario entrepreneurs may be put off by the complexities of working on their estate plans, especially if they intend to pass down the business to their heirs. So, an exit plan is likely just as important as a startup plan.
There are people who have made the decision not to be brought back to life if their hearts stop. The do not resuscitate order, or DNR, is one where people do not want any emergency lifesaving measures to be used to keep them alive. This order, which can be a part of estate planning in Ontario, is often used for those who are terminally ill and gives medical personnel clear directives.
The only constant in life is change, and as people continue to age, changes happen in life that should be reflected in different areas. Estate planning should evolve with those life changes. As finances and other things change as Ontario residents get older, their estate plans may need updating too.
Working on an estate plan can get pretty complex depending upon the assets of an individual. Estate planning can get even more complicated when some of those assets are located outside Canada. More people are holding assets outside their home jurisdictions.
After a lifetime of working hard, raising children and socking any extra money away, most people of retirement age just want to relax and spend some of their hard-earned funds on family members. But in the throes of estate planning in Canada, few people give pause to what would happen to any money shared with an adult child if that child's marriage or live-in love relationship goes on the skids. It's an important question to ask.