Before diving into the topic of this month’s newsletter, I wanted to pass along a few other tidbits. First, I have two webinars coming up rather quickly. First, I am presenting at the World Money Show in Toronto this Saturday at 1:45 local time (10:45 in the fair place I call home), although this will be available via webinar. If you want to learn a little bit about how trusts work and hear of a few examples of their uses, then load up on the latte and tune in via the following link: http://www.worldmoneyshowtoronto.com/special-events.asp?specialtype=cm If you aren’t able to attend or this doesn’t get circulated before then, I suspect a recording will soon be available and I will try to link it to my website Read more
Posts from the ‘Estate Planning’ Category
Preparing for 2016 – Changes to the Taxation of Life Insurance, Prescribed Annuities and Testamentary Trusts
For those of us who focus on estate and financial planning, particularly on the left coast, the last few years have featured a cavalcade of change. 2011 featured changes to how Powers of Attorney must be set up and what they can do, along with the introduction of a new healthcare document called an “Advance Directive” that allows you to dictate your healthcare choices in advance along the lines of a Living Will. 2013 marked large scale changes to family law in beautiful B.C., such as extending property rights to common law spouses and changing how property gets divided in the event of a divorce. This year (2014) saw massive changes to Wills law, including a change on how things get divided if you die without a Will, what happens if two people die around the same time and removing the automatic revocation of your Will upon marriage, to name just a few.
Despite the significant changes already in place, there more still to come. This time they’re coming from the Federal Government and will affect more than just those people who cheer for the Canucks. Fortunately, we’ve been told of these tweaks to the system several years in advance so that we get a chance to either prepare for the inevitable (such as under the new tax rules for how trusts set up in your Wills) or to take advantage of a final chance to buy life insurance and annuities that will continue to qualify under the current rules even under the new regime. Here’s a little bit about each.
In my last article, I wrote about some of the steps you could take to wreak legal and financial chaos on those you love. I originally wanted to also include those important steps you could take to also drag down the family business / farm or start a family squabble that could hopefully last for generations. When I started writing, however, I quickly saw that this needed an article all to itself, as the opportunities seem almost endless. Even so, I won’t have time to address the extra level of problems that can arise if your immediate family aren’t the only owners of a business.
Most of the mistakes regarding your estate planning if you own a businss can be broken down into 3 main areas:
• Working really had to build a successful family business / farm then putting no effort into the logistics of how the company will operate without you and how to make things work at that point without your children engaging in a bloodbath;
• Failing to think about taxes and other expenses that can cripple your business, force your heirs to sell out or result in a much higher tax bill at your death than anyone deserves; and
• Not getting the proper legal documents and advice in advance.
Some people like to say God that is “in the details” while others claim say it is the devil that calls the shots. In any event, the financial planner part of me wonders if whoever coined these expressions was secretly thinking about defined benefit pension plans. Sometimes, the details of a plan are a safety blanket that makes sure you’re covered regardless of what happens next while in other instances, the fine print is a trip wire that leads to catastrophe. Fortunately, whether your plan is a safety net or tsunami isn’t entirely a matter of chance; the choices you make at key points along the way have a lot of impact over what happens later. As a result, I want to talk about some of these key decisions and the things you can do to make your future a little bit more like heaven and a lot less like hell.