"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."
- Alan Lakein
Openly discussing your thoughts and plans can be difficult ...and delicate. By the same token, you have laboured to build your wealth and you are entitled to determine precisely how, when, and to whom you wish to ultimately distribute your assets. However, if you fail to prepare and sign valid documents, intestate succession law will apply and the provisions of the applicable law are not likely to be in line with what you had in mind. Clearly establishing how you wish to preserve and transfer your wealth is one of the best time investments you can make.
Naturally, ensuring that family and those close to you, as well as the causes you cherish, have adequate financial support is usually what first comes to mind. Regarding your estate planning, you’ll also want to be making choices that avoid complication or litigation, and that protect the value of your estate by limiting costs, taxes, and settlement delays. Many factors contribute to the decisions you will make. Almost as many have consequences and implications you may not even have considered.
In your Will (or Testament), you’ll determine how your assets are to be distributed or settled. Your Will may include the appointment of guardians for minors, age thresholds when your estate will devolve to beneficiaries, and testamentary trusts. If you already have a Will, is it up to date? Is your named executor still willing or able to act? Has your civil status changed? Has your family expanded? Is your daughter now a partner in the family business? If so, how do you intend to divide your estate ‘equitably’ among your children?
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney delegating authority to handle your financial affairs and, in case of incapacity, a Power of Attorney to manage and support your health care should also to be drawn up. Have you already drafted these documents? Have your circumstances changed? Are your original appointees still willing and able to act on your behalf? Will they require professionals them to assist in implementing strategies and managing affairs for you?
Perhaps you wish to establish an Inter Vivos Trust to provide benefits now and in the future ...for your favourite nephew’s education, environmental causes, or regular ongoing donations to a children’s hospital. Or, you may want to establish a Testamentary Trust only effective upon death, whereby the capital (or possibly simply the income generated) benefits your heirs or a charity. In setting up trusts, delineating the terms and putting the financing in place can be intricate. Seeking our assistance may put your mind at ease, knowing that your trust plans are on a sound footing. If you wish or require us to be engaged in a more formal capacity, we are available for consultation and able to assist you in this matter.
If you wish or require us to be engaged in a more formal capacity, we are available for consultation and able to assist you in this matter.
Your executor or your beneficiaries can draw upon our expertise in implementing the provisions in your will. Perhaps settling your estate may require establishing the value of your professional practice or the ‘goodwill’ of your business. Or, your hobby collection (antique cars, a wine cellar…) may entail the services of a certified Appraiser.
And, once all is in order, the distribution of the estate’s proceeds and requisite tax filing need to be handled. This may involve coordinating with your legal advisors, accountants, and tax specialists — as well as the actual transfers of title, ownership, and assets to your beneficiaries. Keep in mind that, if it is your desire, we can be appointed as your Executor.
At a time when emotions often run high, having professionals who are able to objectively manage expectations and resolve family conflicts, can help reduce stress and provide clarity.
Whether you have established an Inter Vivos Trust or your Will includes a Testamentary Trust, ongoing funding, disbursements, and their fiscal management will require experienced trustees who will follow your instructions to ensure viability. In addition, you may also need someone to manage the trust’s portfolio and to ensure to generate the income required to sustain your trust.
As your financial partner with a comprehensive understanding of investment management, estate planning, estate settlement, as well as the inter-dependence among these elements, we have the knowledge, capacity, and are well positioned to administer your trusts.
We are always at your service for any additional information you may require.
Estate Settlement and Trust Services are provided through our National Bank Trust division.