estate planning tips

What are the top 26 Estate Planning tips to consider?

Estate planning helps ensure a stress-free transition of your assets to the next generation or intended beneficiaries.

Excerpts from the Book – Preserving Wealth – written by Jack Lumsden, MBA, CFP®

The following are the top 26 estate planning tips from Preserving Wealth: The Next Generation.

  1. Have up-to-date wills.
  2. Have up-to-date powers of attorney for both property and personal care.
  3. Review your powers of attorney and will every few years.
  4. Review your executor(s) every few years.
  5. Determine if trusts may be of benefit to your family.
  6. Consider a staged inheritance if you have young children.
  7. Review your life insurance beneficiary designations on all your policies.
  8. Review your beneficiary designations on all registered plans, such as group savings plans, RRSPs, TFSA and RRIFs, etc.
  9. For RESPs, make them joint with your spouse, and name a successor subscriber in your will.
  10. Consolidate your investments with one financial advisor.
  11. Make sure you have enough life insurance to:
    • protect your family, and
    • if desired, create a family legacy, fund your favourite charity, and/or pay for estate costs.
  12. Use term insurance for short-term needs, and permanent insurance for long-term or lifetime needs.
  13. Consider permanent life insurance as a financial tool to reduce taxes and potentially create retirement income.
  14. Create a digital estate plan.
  15. Create a binder and/or use a secure cloud service for your essential estate documents, and make sure your executor knows how to access (see Appendix C).
  16.  Have the four essential family conversations (see Appendix B) with your children and/or parents:
    •  the “estate documents” conversation with your executor, power of attorney, children and/or parents
    • the “eldercare” conversation” with your children and/or parents
    • the “family legacy” conversation with your children and/or beneficiaries
    • the “next gen financial education” conversation with your children and/or beneficiaries.
  17.  Introduce your power of attorney and executor to your financial advisor, accountant, and lawyer.
  18. Be wary of using joint ownership with anyone other than your spouse.
  19. Consider “gifts” while alive for your family and/or donations to your favourite charity.
  20. If you are a business owner, consider a secondary will for your business assets to avoid probate. 
  21. Prior to getting married or living common-law, consider a domestic contract (commonly referred to as a pre-nuptial or co-habitation agreement).
  22. Pre-plan and perhaps pre-pay for your funeral.
  23. Write down thoughts for your eulogy, which may include:
    • family tree
    • personal history
    • organized photos with names written on the back so the next gen will know who the people are!
  24. Update and review your documents after a major life change or event such as marriage, birth, death, and divorce.
  25. Some probate and estate tax minimizing strategies can have unintended consequences, so you will have to review all strategies with your insurance expert, accountant, lawyer, and financial advisor in conjunction with your entire estate plan
  26. Review and reflect on this checklist often.

For more information you can refer to Preserving Wealth: The Next Generation – The definitive guide to protecting, investing, and transferring wealth by Jack Lumsden, MBA, CFP®


This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please make sure to see me for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances. The information provided is for illustrative purposes only. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses, may all be associated with mutual fund investments. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated. Please read the Fund Facts and consult your Assante Advisor before investing.

Insurance products are services provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Inc.

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