IS A WILL ALL I NEED FOR ES­TATE PLAN­NING?

Best Health - - ADVICE - JOR­DAN CAMP­BELL, CFA, is a fi­nan­cial ad­viser as­so­ciate at Man­ulife Se­cu­ri­ties

THE AD­VISER SAYS…

AGOOD QUES­TION! MANY OF US re­al­ize the im­por­tance of hav­ing a will when it comes to es­tate plan­ning. How­ever, that’s of­ten where we stop plan­ning — to the detri­ment of those we leave be­hind. There are a num­ber of what I call “daily liv­ing” is­sues that will need to be re­solved, and tak­ing just a few mo­ments now to at­tend to them can lit­er­ally save months of time and work for your loved ones.

CHECK YOUR BEN­E­FI­CIA­RIES

When you first opened an RRSP, you may have been young or sin­gle and listed your par­ents or no one at all as ben­e­fi­cia­ries on your ac­count. How­ever, if you are now mar­ried or have chil­dren, you may want your in­vest­ments to go to them in­stead. Con­versely, if you are di­vorced, you may want to re­visit your ear­lier de­ci­sions. Reg­is­tered in­vest­ment ac­counts, like RRSPs and TFSAs, al­low you to list ben­e­fi­cia­ries so that if some­thing hap­pens to you, the money in these ac­counts will trans­fer rel­a­tively eas­ily to your loved ones.

If you don’t have any ben­e­fi­cia­ries on these ac­counts though, it can be­come quite a bit more dif­fi­cult and time-con­sum­ing for those you care about to re­ceive the pro­ceeds. Take just a cou­ple of min­utes to re­view your in­vest­ment ac­counts to en­sure that you’ve listed the right peo­ple as ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

LIST YOUR BILLS

In to­day’s world of elec­tronic bill state­ments and on­line bank­ing, pay­ing bills has be­come easy. How­ever, with­out a pa­per bill be­ing mailed to your home ev­ery month, your spouse may not know what needs to be paid once you’re gone. The last thing you want is for them to fall be­hind on pay­ing prop­erty tax or the heat­ing bill be­cause they didn’t even know it was due. To pre­vent this, make a list of your bills, the ac­count num­ber as­so­ci­ated with them, and a cus­tomer ser­vice phone num­ber. This way they will know what needs to be paid and be able to con­tact a com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive to trans­fer the bill to their name or close it down.

RE­VIEW YOUR WILL

As with the ben­e­fi­cia­ries on your in­vest­ment ac­counts, your will may need up­dat­ing too. If your brother has moved to another province since you first wrote your will, do you still want him to be the guardian of your chil­dren and the ex­ecu­tor of your es­tate?

Luck­ily, you may not need to go through the process of getting an en­tirely new will if you are just mak­ing small changes. You can talk to a lawyer about pos­si­bly adding a “cod­i­cil” to your ex­ist­ing will to make an amend­ment rather than re­do­ing the whole thing.

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