Steve provides estate planning services that help you eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a your estate and help you maximize the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses.
The largest tax of all — the federal estate tax — does not get nearly as much attention as other taxes we try to reduce even though proper planning may save a large percentage of your estate. Today, it may be more important than ever to protect your assets from significant loss due to estate taxes.
No matter your net worth, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place.
Such a plan ensures that your family and financial goals are met after you die.
An estate plan has several elements.
They include: a will; assignment of power of attorney; and a living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). For some people, a trust may also make sense. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and provincial laws governing estates.
Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start.
Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you’re ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself
Everybody needs a will.
A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It’s also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will — also known as dying “intestate” — can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.
Trusts aren’t just for the wealthy.
Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.