While it’s not something that’s particularly fun or easy to deal with, planning your estate is so important. Even though it can involve difficult conversations and complex tasks, it’s an important discussion to have with your family members, trusted financial advisor, or lawyer while you are still capable of independently making these decisions. To help you plan for the future for both you and your family, check out our estate planning tips below.
Why You Should Take Control of Your Estate Planning
Having an “everything will work itself out” attitude is not helpful for your loved ones or their financial future. If you do not make plans for your estate, your loved ones will be left to manage your estate through probate court.
Here are a few reasons why taking a more empowered approach to estate planning is important:
- Estate planning puts you in charge. It allows you to independently make the decisions that are best for you and your family. If you don’t create a will, it will be up to the government to manage the division of your assets.
- Estate planning gives your family a clear path for honouring your wishes. Your family wants to honour your final wishes, and having these tough conversations while you’re still able to will make this possible.
- Estate planning means your family will have a smoother time trying to transfer your assets. You have the power to make transferring your assets easier for your family. By creating a will and designating a power of attorney, you will make this portion of the process simpler for them. This typically means that your family won’t have to go through probate court to access your assets.
Estate Planning Tips
To help you have a smooth and empowered process, we discuss estate planning tips below. However, this is not official legal or financial advice, which you should receive from a trusted financial advisor or estates lawyer.
Review Your Assets
When estate planning, the first step is taking inventory of all your assets. If you don’t know what you have, how can you plan?
A few items to consider when estate planning include:
- Bank statements for all your accounts across potentially more than one financial institution
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts like an RRSP
- Brokerage account statements for all your investments
- Property deeds
- Titles for cars, boats, RVs, and more
Understanding all the assets you have is important for the rest of the steps in estate planning. This is a great opportunity to sort out what you have and how to access each account.