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Posts from the ‘Estate Planning’ Category

Defined Benefit Pensions: Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Pension

Introduction

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.

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Wills, Thrills and Chills – Changes to Wills and Estates Law in British Columbia

I am the first to admit that lawyers generally a pretty conservative bunch; if something has worked well enough in the past (no matter how ancient), then why rock the boat by trying something new? Sometimes, however, even the most cautious and traditional of lawyers realize that it’s time for a change. Accordingly, after many, many years of consideration, contemplation and conversation, our province has implemented sweeping changes to the rules regarding wills and estates through a single new piece of legislation entitled the Wills, Estates and Succession Act that consolidates many other statutes into one stop shopping. Essentially, it’s like making 90 years of changes all at once.

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Universal Life Insurance: The Basics – Part 1

Introduction

I describe permanent life insurance as a multipurpose jackknife that combines many useful tools into a single sleek package. Universal Life (“UL”) policies are the ultra-deluxe version that includes enough attachments to do anything from performing minor surgery or opening wine bottles. On the other hand, unless you are supremely confident in your surgical skills or don’t mind a little cork in your chardonnay, perhaps this mythical pocketknife isn’t always the best tool for the job.

Arguably, the same is true for UL insurance; although it is capable of many different uses, which is a wonderful thing, it isn’t always the ideal solution for every problem. All the same, since we don’t always know what to expect when wandering through the forest that is life, having something in our back pocket that can be useful in a variety of different scenarios is a very attractive option. On a similar note, UL may sometimes be a secondary tool you can use in conjunction with your preferred implement to improve your overall results. Of course, in other case, despite these cautions, maybe sometimes a UL policy is exactly what you need.

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Participating Life Insurance – The Third and Final Chapter

For those of you waiting with bated breath, here is the third and final installment in my series on Participating Whole Life Insurance aka "Par Policies." The first and second chapters of this exciting story describe what these things are and how they work, including some information on what the insurer considers when determining what to pay you in policy dividends each year, and exploring your different choices for what to do with these things, along with the tax consequences. Today, we get practical. I'll talk about some of the different types of Par Policies currently available, how you can use them to help fund your retirement and, perhaps most importantly, what to consider when you're looking to buy a policy. With no further ado, here goes . . .

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