Family dynamics often have a bearing on how smoothly wealth passes from one generation to the next. At Hagel Lawfirm, we have seen how differences among family members can have a negative impact on the value of an estate, and we work with our clients to help them avoid such an outcome.
Canadian families are perhaps more diverse now than ever before. An aging boomer population, second or third marriages, non-traditional households, loved ones with special needs -- these are all important realities to consider in estate planning.
You're not alone if the prospect of talking with your heirs about estate planning makes you uncomfortable. In fact, earlier this year a poll by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce showed that nearly 50 per cent of Canadians have not broached the topic of inheritance with their heirs, yet more than half of Canadians expect to leave assets to heirs upon death.
Avoiding taxes or minimizing their impact on your estate is an essential part of comprehensive estate planning. Compared with other provinces, Ontario has a particularly high estate administration tax. However, there are strategies that a lawyer can help you implement in order to minimize your estate's tax burden.
If you have significant assets that you want to see grow and mature, then a financial advisor can be a great help, particularly with the technical aspects of your investments. It is also important to stay informed and be aware of what your financial advisors are doing.
There are many different kinds of Canadian trusts, and they can be beneficial in a variety of ways. Because a trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage the trust properly, it is important for any trustee to understand specifically what kind of trust it is and what it can do. Also, trustees must ask themselves, "What are the goals and needs of the trust creator and the beneficiary?"
While many people take the important estate planning steps of creating a will, assigning powers of attorney and, if appropriate, establishing a trust, far too many people never get around to updating their plans after major life events occur.
There are many factors to consider when planning the future of an estate. The process can be a complex but deeply fulfilling endeavor. Matters may be particularly complex if you have a business that you've worked hard to build, and you want that business to continue thriving for years to come.