While many view estate planning only as a way to assign assets to a spouse or children, vehicles like your Will, life insurance or RRSPs also make it easy to create a lasting legacy with a favourite charity.
Further, creating an estate plan that incorporates all your assets and wishes also has tax benefits and helps prevent family disagreements and heartaches, explains Lilián Cazacu, Notary Public and member of Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation’s legacy giving committee.
While a Will can outline everything from funeral arrangements to guardianship for minor children, it also allows you to detail distribution of your assets.
“A Will needn’t be complicated,” Cazacu says. “However, by seeing a notary public or a lawyer, you can plan your estate according to your wishes and have your Will, Power of Attorney, Representation Agreement, and any other legal documents as part of your estate plan.”
For those who die without a Will, a court-appointed administrator oversees estate distribution.
“When we talk about beneficiaries, most people think about a Will. However, in an estate planning meeting, long before we talk about Will beneficiaries, we talk about designated beneficiaries in other financial documents like life insurance, RRSPs and TFSAs,” Cazacu explains.
Since these assets normally go directly to designated beneficiaries, including registered charities as well as individuals, they can bypass the estate and save probate fees.
Those without family to inherit their estate can divide it among friends or favourite charities.
“In addition to helping a charity by leaving a gift in your Will, your estate can also benefit from a tax credit, if the gift was made to a Canadian charity with a charitable registration number.”
Additional tools to understanding estate planning
- A trust is a legal arrangement where a person or trustee holds property in their name for one or more beneficiaries. They’re powerful tools that accomplish various financial and tax goals, and different kinds of trusts are appropriate in different situations. However, they’re expensive to establish and maintain – other more efficient tools can be less expensive to set up.
- While a Will comes into effect upon your death, a Power of Attorney helps you manage your financial affairs when you’re unable, incapable or out of town, for example. Like Executors, the person who has your Power of Attorney must be financially savvy, available, willing, and especially trustworthy.
- While a Power of Attorney allows someone to help you make financial or legal decisions, Representation Agreements and Advance Directives allow you to appoint someone to help you make health care and personal care decisions. These can save you much grief and avoid family problems – your children can make those end-of-life decisions without guilt or conflict because they know you’ve made those decisions in advance and your wishes and values have been described in detail.
Estate planning can seem like a daunting task – at any age or stage of life, but it need not be, says Cazacu. There are resources available to help you personalize your plan to match your needs.
To learn more about your options, join a free estate planning seminar on Thursday, May 16, hosted by Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.
To RSVP, or for more information, contact: Lisa Rosales, Legacy Giving Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation at 604.533.6420 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register online, visit guestli.st/609384
For more information about leaving a legacy, visit lmhfoundation.com/ways-to-give/legacy-giving