Estate Planning Checklist: Things To Consider When Estate Planning in Alberta
At Verhaeghe Law Office – our wills and estates lawyers as well as our estate litigation lawyers will always recommend that you consider estate planning before it’s too late. One of the most important benefits of having an estate plan in place is that it minimizes room for conflict amongst your loved ones after you pass on. Furthermore, it alleviates certain burdens from your loved ones because your final wishes are in writing as to how to handle things like your estate or your funeral. Here is an estate planning checklist we have created in order to help you with your estate planning. Please note this list is not exhaustive and we recommend you consult with a wills and estates lawyers for the unique needs required by your individual estate plan:
- Ensure you have a will in place: Having a will is very important because if you pass on without a will – the government can possess your estate according to the laws of your province or territory. Your probate and legal fees may also be higher, and your loved ones may not get the opportunity to inherit assets, gifts or money from your estate.
- Make arrangements to plan and pay for your funeral: Indicate what kind of funeral you’d like and make arrangements to prepay for your funeral in advance. In a situation like this, money will be deposited into a trust account or insurance fund until your funeral allowing you to pay the costs of your funeral instead of leaving this burden to your loved ones.
- Buy life insurance to cover expenses related to your passing: Buying life insurance to cover expenses allows you to use funds in many ways down the road. For example, you can leave a tax-free lump sum payment for a beneficiary, provide a steady income for your loved ones after your passing or cover final estate costs.
- Arrange to distribute your gifts, assets and other items to your loved ones: It is very important to name your beneficiaries – as well as who gets what and more importantly why they deserve it to minimize dispute or conflict amongst your loved ones.
- Spend unsheltered assets: You can reduce estate taxes by spending your unsheltered savings such as RRSPs or RRIFs. If your spouse meets certain conditions – this money may go to them without any tax or probate fees if it is set up properly.
- Take advantage of RRSP contributions: In some cases, you may be eligible to instruct your executor to contribute money into a spousal RRSP for up to 60 days after you die. This can turn taxable income into a sheltered investment so it is worth looking into given that there may be less tax and lower fees on your estate.
- Buy permanent life insurance as an investment: Death benefits from some insurance policies are considered tax-free which may allow the transfer of these funds to a tax-efficient one. Speak to a lawyer first to see if this makes sense for your individual situation.
- Transfer property to joint ownership and/or set up a trust fund(s): If your estate planning needs are rather complicated – it may make sense to transfer your property to joint ownership with your beneficiary or setting up a trust fund. These arrangements are subject to certain laws and rules and is something your estate lawyer can assist with. There are many trade offs to consider so discuss these with your lawyer to make sure it makes sense for you.
- Make arrangements in case of incapacity: Ensure you appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. Ensure this is someone you trust implicitly to make decisions for you and ensure you’ve received their consent prior to naming them to make decisions on your behalf.
Contact our Wills and Estates lawyers from Verhaeghe Law Office
For additional legal assistance with your estate planning needs – book a consultation with our estate planning lawyers by dialing 587-410-2500 or live chat with our legal team to schedule your consultation. Our Alberta wills and estates lawyer are on stand-by and look forward to helping you with your estate planning needs.
Disclaimer: Please note this blog is only intended to act as a general overview on estate planning matters and does not constitute legal advice. For catered legal advice regarding your situation please contact our law office for legal assistance. Please note that we can only provide legal assistance once lawyer-client relationship has been established via written contract where our lawyers have been retained by you for legal counsel.