According to Statistics Canada, the average net worth of Canadian families has risen significantly in the last two decades. Between 1999 and 2012, average wealth increased by 73 per cent — from $319,800 to $554,100. Much of this wealth is held by baby boomers, and it is estimated that, in the next four decades in North America, more than $30 trillion in assets will be passed from boomers to their heirs.
The reality, however, is that a smooth transfer of assets does not happen automatically, and ambiguities and errors in estate planning, regardless of the size of the estate, can lead to family disputes that drain estate assets. In that situation, no one really wins, but aging parents can take the necessary steps now to ensure that asset distribution does not result in confusion, heartache and needless costs for family members.
At Hagel Lawfirm, we provide estate planning and estate litigation services in Mississauga and throughout the GTA, and we have seen how poor planning can lead to costly family conflict. We advise our clients with regard wills, trusts, asset protection, business succession, residential real estate, guardianship, probate and estate administration. Oversights in any of these areas can lead to litigation, but planning now can help ensure that your estate and your heirs do not end up in court.
Unfortunately, in many cases, heirs are unpleasantly surprised by their deceased loved one’s will. Often this the result of there having been little, if any, communication prior to the death about the distribution of assets. We discussed ways of avoiding this problem in one of our previous posts, “Planning your estate? Don’t leave your heirs in the dark.”
For more on the steps you can take to make your message heard, please see Hagel Lawfirm‘s estate planning overview.