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Notice: Fiscal Agents Financial Services Group are not engaged in rendering tax, accounting or legal professional services or advice. The comments in this Executive Notes are not intended, nor should they be relied upon, to replace specific professional advice. Before acting on material contained herein. Readers should seek advice that is appropriate to their personal circumstances from a professional advisor.

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of this article from Trimark Investment Management Inc.

Fiscal Agents
Why You Need an Estate Plan - 10 Simple steps

Your Payoff for Reading On

This article was created to give you an outline of what you need to do to make your estate plan complete. You will need advisers, including a financial adviser, lawyer and possibly a tax professional to apply the most current tax, trust, estate and family laws of your province to your personal situation. Our comprehensive estate planning checklist and recommended reading list will help to expand your knowledge. Above all, we hope this article inspires you and gives you the confidence to deal with the challenges associated with handling estate matters.

Estate Planning

5Keeps more of your money in the hands of your heirs; prevents the government from getting more than it's entitled to

5Minimizes income taxes and probate fees (no probate fees in Quebec)

5Designates charitable gifts; declares your personal care preferences, including terminal medical treatment and organ donation intentions

5Provides for income splitting that has tax advantages

5Distributes your assets as you intended; provides funds to cover funeral expenses, as well as immediate and/or long-term family living costs

5Ensures business continuity, if you own or manage a small business

Identifies the persons chosen to carry out your last wishes and care for your minor children

Estate? What Estate?

Too often, estate planning professionals hear, "I wish I'd known about this sooner" from distressed family members. Whatever your status - male, female, married, widowed, divorced, single, young, old, middle class or wealthy - everyone needs estate planning. Unfortunately, too few people follow this advice.

A 1998 Decima Research survey, conducted for the Canadian Bar Association, revealed that only 49 per cent had engaged in some form of estate planning -24 per cent on their own and 21 per cent with the help of a professional. The research also revealed that 47 per cent did not have a will at all.

The "do nothing" option is not in the best interests of your family, your business or other relationships. As the world we live in becomes increasingly characterized by legal action and government intervention, estate planning is something everyone should do.

Creating Your Estate Plan - Step by Step

When many Canadians think of estate planning, they think solely of a will. In truth, it's much more. This step-by-step checklist will take you through the entire estate planning process and ensure that you cover all the bases. The rules covering the legal concepts outlined in this brochure may vary from province to province. Ask your financial adviser or lawyer for more information.

Step 1
Designate a Team of Professionals

Step 2
Draw Up a Household Balance Sheet

Step 3
Understand Your Life Insurance Needs

Step 4
Draw Up Your will

Step 5
Establish Power of Attorney for Property

Step 6
Establish Power of Attorney for Personal Care

Step 7
Minimize Taxes and Administration Fees

Step 8
Keep track of Accounts and Important Information

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