Protect yourself and your family by creating an estate plan.
Estate planning refers to deciding what happens with your assets (your land, investments, house, collectibles, etc.) when you pass away. Specifically, who receives your assets and how it is distributed in the event of your death.
The goal of estate planning is to ensure that what you want to happen with your assets, happens. Everyone's personal life, finances, and goals are different. Below are questions we recommend you answer from the start:
Which assets do you want to give to specific family members?
Do you want your family members to receive your assets during your lifetime or after your death?
Are all of your assets going to family members? Do you want to leave some of your estate to charity?
Are you interested in having an estate plan that minimizes income tax?
If you are a business owner, do you have life insurance to cover unexpected taxes and protect your business? Explore our life insurance >
Do you have a registered plan, such as an RRIF or RRSP? If so, who do you want to transfer these assets to?
Need guidance? Speak to a financial advisor >
After you determine where you want your assets to go and who you want to obtain them, gathering documents is the next step. We recommend to gather information on the following:
Bank accounts — who will receive your accounts?
Retirement accounts — who will receive your RRIF or RRSP?
Estate inventory keepsakes, heirloom items, etc.
Proof of property, vehicles, and other belongings you own official documents that prove your ownership of your assets
Insurance policies both your personal insurance, such as life insurance, and business insurance, such as professional liability insurance
You will need to create a will, living will, trusts, and power of attorney. Let's explore each document below.
A will is one of the most important aspects of your estate plan. Your will is a written document that identifies your wishes of your estate. It is a document you create and execute with a lawyer or notary.
The common elements in a will include:
other belongings (such as jewelry).
The difference between a will and a living will is the execution time. A will gets executed once you pass away, while a living will can be carried through during your lifetime if you not able to make decisions.
A living will includes the medical care you prefer to have if you suffer from brain damage or other complications later in life.
A trust is a legal tool that allows you to transfer assets to a trustee who can hold the assets on behalf of the beneficiary until they are ready to obtain it. Typically, the time in which an individual is able to access a trust depends on their age. For example, until your grandchild turns a certain age you decide on.
Power of attorney refers to you giving someone power over your decisions when you aren’t able to make them. This power is typically given to a spouse or parent. The decisions your power of attorney can have varies from finances to personal care.
The final arrangements of your estate plan captures your desired funeral arrangements and where you want to be buried.
To make your will legal, it will need to be 1) in written form, 2) signed with your physical signature, and 3) signed by two witnesses, such as your neighbours, who will not receive any of your assets.
A lawyer or notary can help you with your final arrangements.
Typically an estate plan can be stored at your home, financial institution, or a safety deposit box.
Learn about our safety deposit boxes >