Estate Planning: How to get started

Estate Planning:  How to get started
How do you get started with Estate Planning? First off, getting started with your estate planning involves a lot of details and can be quite difficult so ensure that you seek assistance from a trusted financial advisor.

To start the process, you will need to review two things:
- Your assets and liabilities – you will need to take an inventory of your assets and liabilities so you have a clear picture of what is in your estate. Remember to work with your financial advisor to know what the after-tax value of your estate may be.
- Your family’s needs to be able to maintain their lifestyle in the event you pass away. You will need to take a look at your RRSPs, pension plans and life insurance policies to check the beneficiary designations for each account.

If you pass away without a will, you are considered to have died “intestate.” This means your assets will be distributed according to the “intestacy” rules of your province. The big problem with this is that the “intestacy” rules may not align with your plans on how to pass on your assets to your family members.

In short, without a will, you cannot ensure that your beneficiaries will receive everything you have planned for them. For example, in some provinces, a common-law partner will inherit in the same manner as a married spouse while in other provinces, a common-law partner will receive nothing upon an intestacy.

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