Most of us don’t like to think about a time where we have passed on and how that may impact those we leave behind. Providing a meaningful legacy, be it for loved ones, a charity close to your heart, or just paying the final bills, requires a well-thought-out estate plan to make sure that your desired outcome is in fact the outcome that transpires when that day comes.
Without an established plan, the fate of your estate and your money will be determined by people who won’t have an interest in your wishes, but rather will be obligated to follow the guidelines set out by the province you resided in. When you don’t predetermine the plan for your estate, there is still a plan for your estate; it just may not be one you ever wanted. You may be surprised at the regulations surrounding your legacy, therefore having an estate plan is paramount in ensuring everything is handled according to your wishes.
Together with your accountant, lawyer, and other estate planning professionals, we can assist in drafting document wording, reviewing your current situation, tax planning and locating the pieces missing to protect the legacy you’ve built and ensure it benefits those you care about.
Having a current will, power of attorney and health directive are three key documents that help protect what matters most. We highly recommend these be obtained by everyone, no matter your age or what stage in life you are at. You cannot predict the future, when things may or may not occur, and it’s crucial you be prepared for all instances in a way that won’t negatively impact you or your loved ones more than necessary.
Will: This document manages many aspects upon your passing. It sets forth how you want your estate disposed of and distributed. It names the executor in charge of your affairs after your passing, guardianship of any dependents, beneficiaries of the assets you have and when those assets should be passed over, and how taxes or obligations should be managed. Navigating the complexities of an estate are not simple. It’s also likely you don’t wish to leave more stress on your loved ones while in a state of grieving. Laying out your wishes gives you the best chance of managing that effectively.
Power of Attorney (POA): Whether it’s to manage specific assets (such as investments, bank accounts, and real estate holdings) or managing the day to day bills, you need a POA in place to ensure that your affairs and wishes are organized and followed should you be unable to manage them yourself. A POA is a document that can come into play while you are still alive but physically or mentally incapable to handle your finances. This ensures you can appoint someone capable and willing, instead of the government nominating someone for you who may not know your desires or have your best interests in mind.
Health Directive: A health directive document comes into play when you are unable to manage your own health needs. It provides guidance, instructions or help to others making health care decisions if you are incapacitated and can include wishes about the amount and type of health care and treatment you want to receive, DNR orders, etc. It is also a powerful tool to mitigate stress or disagreements between those closest to you when decisions are predetermined, and no choices need to be made or argued over.
Our firm does not provide legal advice or services. Please consult your legal advisor or an estate planning attorney regarding your specific situation.
While it is extremely important to ensure that your will is up to date so that applicable assets are distributed according to your wishes, did you know that not all of your assets are required to flow through your estate?
Some investment policies and all insurance policies allow you to name beneficiaries so that the asset is paid to them directly. This can protect the asset from being subject to probate fees, creditors, third party challenges made against the will, and delays in your desired beneficiary receiving the funds.
Structuring your beneficiaries can range in complexity, but is extremely important for you and your family’s protection. Contact Statera Financial Planners for assistance in arranging your beneficiaries so that you can create the best outcome for your estate plan and financial affairs.
Life insurance has many purposes within financial planning. While a commonly considered objective is to protect your family from ongoing debt obligations (a mortgage, for example), it is also beneficial to replace lost income that will allow your loved ones to maintain their lifestyle without you there to support them. It is also commonly used to manage taxation concerns, personally or within a company, that exist upon death that can be very costly to your estate or loved ones.
Life insurance considerations are not a one and done, set and forget, concept; proper life insurance planning is fluid and requires regular reassessment. Through each change within your life, your insurance needs change with it. The types of insurance required, the coverage amounts, the timeframe in which the coverage may be needed, along with your personal situation all come into play when properly reviewing the risks you need to manage.
While it is true that many people have little to no coverage beyond what may be available through a group plan, potentially leaving them and their families vulnerable, we often see times where individuals are greatly over-insured and paying premiums that are unnecessary. It is important to do a full life insurance needs analysis to know where the gaps or excess spending exist. Contact Statera Financial Planners to do a complete review of your current coverage and let’s make sure that your most valuable asset, your life, is protected properly.