what is an estate?
An estate is all the things you own, or own jointly with someone else. It includes thing like your home, other real property, vehicles, boats, banking accounts, investments, shares, businesses, and personal items.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning refers to planning the distribution of your assets. In estate planning you decide on how to distribute the things you own after your death. How those assets are dealt with during your life is also considered to ensure the estate wishes can be met at your death.
It is a process of gathering information about your assets; making sure beneficiary designations and alternates have been designated where applicable, on things like registered investments and life insurance; verifying how certain assets are held; and, potentially checking or changing title registrations.
Once the asset information is made available, estate planning looks at the most strategic way to deal with those assets. Involved estate planning often required collaboration between lawyers, accountants, and financial planners. Lawyers often help with drafting your Will and Powers of Attorney, changing real estate or business ownership and titles if needed, and verifying selected options with respect to taxation consequences.
Estate planning should include a consideration of your personal and core values, reflect your legal obligations to dependants or to a business partnership, consider the provision of support for family members with special needs or for those who may not be responsible with money, and consider the benefits of having life insurance, beneficiary designations on investments, and ways to minimize tax, court, and unnecessary legal fees.
Your estate plan should be regularly reviewed to make adjustments according to your needs, wishes, the needs of dependents, and your personal values.
should i have an estate plan?
Everyone needs an estate plan. It ensures that your wishes are followed, that what you value is communicated, and it is a gift you provide to your loved ones. A clear, organized estate plan makes it significantly easier for those who administer your estate to do so quickly which helps your beneficiaries and loved ones.
HOW WE HELP WITH ESTATE PLANNING
We carefully consider all aspects of estate planning and provide you with strategic options, legal advice and recommendations. Where needed, we work closely with other professionals such as financial planners and accountants. In some cases clients may want to give assets which gifts pose unique estate planning challenged. We review these special circumstances to ensure those assets are appropriately dealt with and integrated into the estate plan.
The most common service we provide related to estate planning is to provide advice related to your estate plan and ensure that your wishes are drafted into your Wills and Powers of Attorney. For further information about this service, click here.