estate planning

What if I Can't Look After My Affairs?

Clarke owned a small business that employed three other people besides him. He had sole signing authority on his business bank account, and personally had a joint mortgage on his home with his wife, Lois. His car was registered in his name only. Clarke was generous with gifts on special occasions and holidays for his children and his wife, and supported several charities on a regular basis.

Added Costs of Caring for Elderly Parents

Statistics Canada reported in 2007 that most eldercare (75%) was provided by those between 45 and 64 years of age. These Canadians, often called the sandwich generation, are increasingly finding themselves spending their own savings to care for their elderly parents, while giving money to their kids for university and trying to save for themselves.

A 2012 BMO survey confirmed that 7 out of 10 caregivers were providing some sort of financial assistance to parents or aging relatives, and half of these caregivers reported they had to adjust their own retirement plans as a result.

How NOT to Plan your Estate

Your death will create problems. There will be three types - emotional, legal and financial. You can do certain things now, while you're alive, to reduce or increase these problems and make your heirs either love you or hate you.

EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS

You can increase the emotional upset after your death by leaving your affairs in a mess. Hide your will, or better still, don't make one. Have a number of secret bank accounts and investments.

The Inheritance Twist

There are many Baby Boomers who are anticipating hitting the jackpot via inheritances in the coming years as a solution to their own financial planning needs. We have heard many media reports about the tidal wave of money expected to move between the generations over the next 15 years or so estimated to be upwards of $1-trillion.

An HSBC report released last September found that 39% of working people are banking on some type of inheritance with a median value of about $77,000. While some 57% of fully retired people expect to leave some sort of inheritance.

Advice to a Future Widow

Most wives outlive their husbands. Women live longer than men the same age and tend to marry men who are older than they are. So, if you're a wife, it is more likely you will become a widow than your husband becoming a widower.

Knowing this, how can you prepare for it?

First of all, when widowhood strikes, don't do anything drastic. Do not sell the house or car. Don't decide to move to another town. You have just suffered a very traumatic experience and your system needs time to adjust to it. Take your time.

Leaving Money to Charity? There is a Better Way

Recently, a client wanted to leave all of their money to two charities through their Will. They wanted to leave a legacy to a couple of charities that were close to them and they didn't have any close family members.

Here is her situation: Age 80, $550,000 in savings (75% non-registered and TFSA), with income of $70,000 annually from pensions and RIFS while living in an upscale retirement residence. She was also spending an additional $20,000 a year from savings to support her lifestyle.

Where's the money?

When Dora died on August 1, 2008, most of her assets passed by Will to her adult children and were therefore subject to probate. $250,000 was in GICs and a fairly rapid transfer of this money to her heirs was expected. But that was not the case. They had to wait until March 2010 for it. That's right, almost two years.

The Financial & Emotional Ravage of Alzheimer's

The Baby Boomers have become known as the sandwich? generation as they are wedged between the dependency needs of aging parents and the needs of their children. Those hit the hardest have been the families ravaged by the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Baby Boomers now find themselves reaching the age when the disease is more likely to strike. Very few are prepared for the emotional and financial toll this degenerative disease can take.

Using a Trust To Avoid Probate

Estate planning is a complex topic, and there are many different facets that have to be considered. One overriding concern many people have is doing something with their assets so they reduce the amount of income tax that may be owed. This is an obvious area for expert advice. However, it is important to realize there are several other factors which have to be taken into account when organizing your estate.

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