Taking the First Step
Many people think estate plans are only for the wealthy. This isn't the case. Every parent, grandparent, spouse,
business owner and professional person should have an estate plan.
An estate plan tells others how to handle your affairs and finances after you die. It tells them how to distribute
your assets at death, including money, property and other possessions. It will help to ensure your estate is divided
according to your wishes. And, it can help to minimize taxes, so more of your estate is left for you heirs.
Setting your priorities
The first step is to decide on goals for your lifetime as well as what you want to do with your estate when you
die. You may want to:
||Leave as large an estate as possible for your spouse, children or grandchildren
||Provide for a child or adult who has a physical or mental special need
||Transfer your business to a family member
||Contribute to your favourite charity
Taking an inventory of your estate
The next step is to identify everything that forms part of your estate - savings, insurance, policies, your home,
cottage or other real estate, pension plans, RRSP's and non-registered investments.
This record will give you and those handling your estate a better picture of your net worth. Once you've
gathered this information, you'll find it easy to review and update every two or three years, and after significant
life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child.