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Mastering the Art of the Estate Plan

28/01/2020


The topic of death is an important conversation to have if you hope to manage your estate effectively.

Clearly communicating your wishes ahead of the post-mortem will-reading will not only eliminate any unwanted surprises, and family conflict, but it will make life a lot easier for your executors who will be faced with the daunting task of administering your estate.

We recommend taking the time to formally sit down and go over your estate plan with your family and other trusted advisors while you’re still here and running through this important to-do list:

Ensure you have the right executors

Administering a will isn’t easy, particularly if the estate in question is complicated. It will likely require a lot of time, effort and patience, so you need to make sure your executors are up to the challenge. If they’re not — or if they’re uncomfortable with the idea in any way — try to find someone better suited for the not-so-easy task.

Clarify the information

Once you find your ideal executor, it’s important to go through all your assets and liabilities so they know what to expect. You should walk them through an updated statement of your net worth, the assets you’d like to see liquidated, life insurance policies and any other relevant information.

Minimize tax repercussions

A proper tax structure can allow a greater proportion of your estate to end up in your family’s hands. By planning early, you can develop a proactive tax strategy — one that involves creating a structure to minimize tax on death.

Plan for an emergency

It is important to have an emergency plan in place, especially if you hope to keep your business running after you’re gone. Your plan should include well-documented emergency procedures for dealing with customers, suppliers, bankers and professional advisors to minimize disruption as much as possible. Among other things, it should also grant signing authority to someone else — by drafting a “two out of three” policy (which would require two people to sign documents in your absence). 

Make hard times easier

A death in the family is unquestionably heartbreaking, but it can also be stressful, particularly when a complex estate or ongoing business operations are involved. You can ease the tension by sharing your plans and wishes with family members ahead of time and providing your family with a simple roadmap to follow.

To learn more about our estate planning services, contact an MNP Business Advisor.

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