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estate planning

Choose Wisely

Almost everyone agrees that it's a good idea to have a will. However, it is estimated that about half of Canadians do not have one, and it is likely that many wills are out of date, perhaps even invalid.

Not having a will can make the sorting out of your estate unnecessarily expensive, complicated and time consuming. When having your will prepared, one of the most important decisions you will make is who you would like as executor.

The Family Meeting

Phillip and Betty want their estate settled as smoothly and cost effectively as possible when the time comes. They have taken a number of steps to make sure this happens.

Buying and Selling the Business when an Owner Dies

Like many business owners, Rick and Warren thought it would be a simple process to continue the business when one of them died.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Rick and Warren had a printing company and were equal partners. Warren died suddenly. Warren's shares passed to his widow, Sarah, who became Rick's new partner. She expected a regular paycheque to continue, even though she knew nothing about the printing business and could not contribute to the daily operations of the company.

Should You Prepare Your Own Will?

Earl wants to control the distribution of his estate when he dies and feels that a Will is a good idea. He had heard the ads on radio and TV about do-it-yourself Wills and bought a National Legal Will Kit.

Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

Ralph became concerned about what would happen to his hard-earned estate after seeing what had happened to some people he knew.

Vivian had remarried and chose to cut costs by using a do-it-yourself will kit. Because she had not allowed for the obligations set out in her deceased husband's will, it took years and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees to settle her estate. As her cash assets earned income while held in trust, her heirs had to pay income taxes on income they hadn't even received.

Johnny Depp and Year-End Tax Planning

With the year-end fast approaching, the story about Johnny Depp (and other celebrities with Estate planning woes), act as a cautionary tale for the average Canadian.

Actor Johnny Depp, best-known for his roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, made a reported $650 million USD and finds himself broke according to news reports last July. Since then, a couple of celebrities have died, including Aretha Franklin, with subsequent reports of no Wills in place with clear instructions on how to distribute their often large financial Estates.

How Important is it to Have a Will ?

Most Canadians want to pass their life savings on to their heirs. The assets remaining once retirement needs are met will be distributed more effectively if there is a properly prepared will detailing the deceased's wishes. Many people mistakenly believe that this issue is far in the future. Preparation of a valid will and its related estate planning considerations should be the cornerstone of a proper estate plan. Whenever there is a change in circumstances, the will should be reviewed and updated as needed.

Holidays: The Best Time to Talk About Estate Planning

The holidays are a time for family to gather together and share in the warmth of the season. If family members live at a distance, the holidays also provide one of the only opportunities of the year when adult children can sit down with their parents and siblings to discuss practical matters.

It's Up to You to Know the Consequences

The news has been full of stories lately of surging real estate prices in the United States. Many Canadian visitors to such places as Florida, Arizona and Hawaii are seeing real estate promoters from these and other states running seminars about US real estate investing.

Many Canadians are viewing this as an opportunity to buy a US property before the prices get too high. But what are the consequences of owning U.S. property?

How to Make Your Heirs Hate You

Your death will create problems. There will be three types - emotional, legal and financial. You can do certain things now, while you're alive, to reduce or increase these problems and make your heirs either love you or hate you.

Emotional Problems

You can increase the emotional upset after your death by leaving your affairs in a mess. Hide your will, or better still, don't make one. Have a number of secret bank accounts and investments.

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