18th November 2009
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What Is Estate Planning – Part II

Another form of Estate Planning is called “Succession Planning.”  This is simply arranging one’s affairs so that when you pass away, your assets can transfer seamlessly to their intended beneficiary without having to go through the Probate process.  This is becoming more and more popular.  Methods of Succession Planning have been naming beneficiaries to life insurance policies and RRSP proceeds, and putting land and other assets into joint names with the beneficiary.

Along with Succession Planning is “Trust Planning.”  This can take any number of forms, but the intention is to allow someone to distribute their estate however they like, without being bound to the strict processes and rules that Probate may require.  In today’s climate of multiple marriages, blended families and whatnot, trust planning is becoming more and more common.  Trust planning ensures that you have the final say in how your property is distributed, because in most instances you can avoid the probate process.  Some forms of trust planning are to place land into a corporation owned by the family, and the creation of what is called a “testamentary trust.”

Granted, this has been a rather shot-gun approach to what is an enormous and vast area.  The purpose of this article was to not advocate one approach to estate planning over another, rather, it was to illustrate the huge number of options available to one who wishes to protect and deal with assets in a safe and proper manner.  As one can imagine, this is an area that also spans into the realm of taxation, and it is common for lawyers and accountants to work together to devise and put into place the most legally- and tax-effective estate plan for you.  In some cases, a simple will may suffice.  In other cases, one of the myriad of choices may be more appropriate for you.  The end result is the same – the saving of money, tax, time, and often times heartache.

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Written by Stringam Denecky