Here are some estate planning considerations that can impact your retirement and what you can do to balance your priorities.
Talk to your spouse or partner about what you both want out of retirement and your shared legacy. Do you both want to leave something to the kids? Donate to a charity? Also talk about whether you want to give these gifts now while you’re still alive or after one or both of you have passed away.
This will get you both on the same page before you share your plans and desires with the rest of the family.
Want to give your grandkids educational opportunities or help your son or daughter buy a home? Before you gift money while you are still alive, make sure you also have enough money set aside to last your full retirement.
Keep in mind that:
If you do plan to leave money or other assets to family members, think about how much control you want to have over those assets while you are still alive. (The family cottage, for example.) Also think about whether you want to have the experience of watching your beneficiaries enjoy these gifts.
Taxes are another consideration—your timing and how you transfer an asset can affect the taxes you and/or your beneficiaries pay.
If you’re planning to leave something to your favourite charity, there are several ways to transfer your assets, either before or after you pass away. Some options can help you save on your taxes during retirement and also provide a long-term benefit to the charity.
An estate plan helps you to pass on your assets to your loved ones or to the causes you support in the fastest and most tax-efficient way. Without these important protections in place:
For everyone’s sake, be sure to set up an estate plan. While estate planning can be complex, here’s a quick overview of a few key things you should do:
A Will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, stating who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, and how you want your assets to be distributed. It’s important that this document be clear and up-to-date.
An executor (liquidator in Quebec) is a person or trust company that administers and distributes your assets after your death. You can ask anyone you trust (a friend or family member, for example) to be your executor; however, you should be aware that it is a large burden to place on someone and that they are not obligated to take on the role.
Your executor will have many responsibilities, including making funeral arrangements, determining the value of your estate assets and liabilities, probating your Will if necessary, preparing and filing tax returns, paying your debts and ultimately distributing your assets.
Because there are so many tasks, make sure your executor fully understands the duties or consider hiring a trust company such as RBC Estate and Trust Services.
It seems intuitive to think that if you were to become mentally or physically incapacitated because of an illness or accident, your spouse or partner could simply make decisions for you. But this is not the case. Without a court order or Power of Attorney, your family members could not manage your finances or health care.
To help protect your interests and desires, it’s important to have a Power of Attorney (mandate in Quebec).
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you give another person (or people) the authority to act on your behalf. The Power of Attorney can be used to make key decisions about your finances, property and even your personal care.
For more information, see What is Estate Planning and Why Does It Matter?
Your idea of retirement may include travel, new hobbies and many other relaxing activities. You’re probably not thinking about spending your savings on secondary health care coverage, a private care facility, or home renovations to deal with an illness or injury.
To help preserve your retirement savings, consider living benefits insurance.
Living benefits insurance provides you with money if you develop a serious disease such as life-threatening cancer or have to pay additional living costs because of a medical condition. There are three main types of living benefits: critical illness insurance, long-term care insurance and disability insurance. For details on these valuable coverages, talk to your insurance advisor.
Having to plan and/or pay for a family member’s funeral can be difficult for those who are left behind. To help protect the legacy you want to leave, consider making arrangements for your funeral and final expenses ahead of time and remove this burden from your family.
Want to know more? An RBC Financial Planner can help you strike the right balance between your estate and retirement plan.
For a private consultation, or for help designing your retirement plan, please complete the information required below:
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