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Consult professionals to ease complexities

By  Christopher D. Burns, Catholic Register Special
  • November 5, 2021

As individuals, we progress through one life stage to the next, incurring life experiences that can add layers of complexity to our personal situation that often impact our future goals and final intentions.

In fact, it has been my experience during the past 18-plus months of the pandemic that many individuals have moved their Will and estate planning to the top of their list of priorities.

With this in mind, the “Top Three” most common questions we receive regarding estate planning:

1. Who should I speak to about setting up my Will?

  • Begin with speaking with your partner or close family member(s).
  • Speak to your trusted wealth advisor or financial planner and compile a financial plan including a Will & Estate Consultation summary.
  • Discuss your Will & Estate Consultation summary with your family and legal professional.
  • Draft your last Will & Testament with an estate lawyer

2. What are some of the options available for individuals to transfer their wealth?

Every family and every situation is different, so understanding the range of approaches is important. Some solutions are very simple, others more complex.

  • Simple — joint beneficiaries, specific asset, account or life insurance beneficiaries.
  • Complex — general trusts are considered an effective method for distributing assets in a way that helps solidify a particular outcome, while also creating the ability to tailor to individual preferences.
  • More complex trusts include Inter Vivos or Living Trusts which are established during one’s lifetime. Understanding the pros and cons and how they relate to your specific intentions will be the determining factors on the type of Trust to use.

3. When should you update your Will?

Effective communications is a key part of effective estate planning. Let your family know when these documents are updated or these events occur:

  • Updating of the Will or drafting of a new Will.
  • Divorce, separation, remarriage or death of a spouse.
  • Changes to account details or where accounts are held.
  • Opening or closing of accounts.
  • Change in professional (lawyer or accountant) or working with a new professional advisor.
  • Insurance policy changes or cancellation.

I would suggest speaking with a qualified wealth advisor and estate lawyer.

(This article is supplied by Christopher D. Burns FCSI, FMA, CIM, BSc, BA, Associate Portfolio Manager and Wealth Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Member CIPF. This article is for information purposes only. Please consult with a professional advisor before taking any action based on information in this article. Please contact Chris at [416] 289-4150 or 1-888-440-7680 or chris.burns@rbc.com.)

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