Most people quite rightly feel pretty good about finally signing their Wills and related documents such as Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. They have taken a huge step toward making sure the right people get the right assets at the right time, that the right people are empowered to make the appropriate decisions, and that their healthcare choices are clear, all the while hopefully ensuring that those left behind are still able to sit across the table from each other at family gatherings without needless bloodshed. On the other hand, as I generally point out in my egregiously long reporting letters after the fact, their work may not be quite done. Read more
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
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.
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.