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Posts from the ‘Pensions’ Category

RRSPs 102 – Beyond the Basics

I don’t want to insult your intelligence or induce a potentially fatal sense of post-holiday boredom by repeating what a lot of you already know about RRSPs. On the other hand, you know what they say about “assume” and what it makes of “u” and me. Accordingly, this is what I propose: I’ll run through a basic summary as quickly as possible and will ever try to sprinkle in a few jokes to liven your day before getting to some of the (at least to me), more interesting stuff. I’ll then describe a couple more advanced planning techniques to reward you for making to the bitter end but will hold back the rest until my next article in the hopes that this will both leave you clamouring for more and reduce your eyestrain in the meantime. Read more

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.

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


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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