Although many Canadians believe estate planning is only for the super wealthy, everyone needs a plan to transfer their wealth. Start the conversation with a family meeting.
These days, more people are beginning to recognize the importance of being prepared for unexpected circumstances and ensuring that their financial affairs are in order. Holding a meeting to discuss and clarify these matters has proven to be highly effective for many families, but family members typically lack the expertise and objectivity to lead such a conversation.
That’s where I can support you by facilitating this family meeting. As your Financial Advisor, I’m acutely aware of your financial circumstances and goals, including any assets you hold and any debts outstanding. I also understand the various elements of an effective wealth transfer plan. Finally, since I’m not part of your family and not a potential heir, I don’t have a personal stake in the outcome and can remain focused on what’s truly best for you and your family.
A major component of estate planning is intergenerational wealth transfer. The wealth transfer process is challenging because of family dynamics and your desire to protect your heirs, and it could also be complex from a legal and financial/taxation standpoint. Accordingly, it’s prudent to engage the services of a lawyer, accountant and tax consultant. If needed, I can help you get in touch with such specialists so you can draw upon their expertise.
Common considerations for transferring wealth
It’s also important to develop and maintain a comprehensive, rational plan for distributing your assets after you die. Just remember that wealth transfer decisions encompass many different factors, and not all of them are financial.
For instance, you may want to distribute your assets by greatest need instead of equally. Hypothetically, if you have four heirs and one of them is financially disadvantaged, you might allocate 35% of your estate to that heir while the others share the remaining 65%. Or, one of your heirs may be a “spendthrift” who is irresponsible with money, so you could choose to place their inheritance in a trust where an appointed trustee can control how (and when) these assets are made available to that heir.
Your estate may also include heirlooms and other items that might not be valuable financially, but hold sentimental value. How will you divide up those assets? The same question applies to your home or any other real estate you may hold. The last of our examples involves the added complication of blended families and how you can ensure that children from a previous union are still taken care of as you desire.
The common thread in these complex decisions is devising a solid plan that satisfies your wealth transfer wishes and protects your heirs and estate. I can help you initiate this crucial discussion with your family members. If I haven’t yet communicated with some of your heirs, it would be good to meet or have a virtual chat with them. It’s valuable to introduce myself to them so they become familiar with your Advisor and understand my role in helping manage your finances, including your wealth transfer plan.
Contact our office if you’d like support with your overall estate planning needs. We can work together to organize and hold your family meeting to discuss wealth transfer in detail.