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Estate planning: For the memories you cherish

It's natural to think of your family and their well-being as you near retirement — which makes it an excellent time to plan your estate. Estate planning is not only for the affluent. It's for everyone who has memories they cherish, treasured family heirlooms, and people they want to protect.
 
Making an estate plan is a gift you leave your loved ones, since the last thing you want is for your family to have to make estate decisions for you. Estate planning is all about the people around you and your relationship with them. Start planning your estate while you’re healthy, and review your estate plan often (especially when life-changing events occur) to make sure it reflects your current needs.
 

Why you should have an estate plan:

  1. Protects your family: Without a will, the Public Guardian and Trustee of Manitoba* have the authority to administer the estate and property. A family member or relative who resides in Manitoba can apply to the provincial court to take on the administration the estate, but this will take valuable time during a difficult period for your family.
     

  2. Makes sure your heirs receive what you left for them: The possessions or valuables designated to family members should go to them without delay.
     

  3. Reduces the tax burden on your heirs: Having your beneficiaries up-to-date will help avoid delays and lower taxes.
     

  4. Eliminates family strife: Choosing who controls what finances and assets when you're unable will help avoid possible family resentment.

 

How do I prepare a plan for my estate?

Estate planning provides a list of instructions that detail how you want your assets used and distributed upon your death or incapacitation. It can include your will, a power of attorney, trusts, living will, health care directive, and if desired, information for final arrangements.

  1. Make a list of your assets, including your house, investments, other property, etc.
     

  2. Make a list of your liabilities, such as your mortgage, loans, credit cards, and other debt.
     

  3. Create a list of your beneficiaries and work with your financial institution to ensure they are listed on your accounts.
     

  4. Record your life insurance policy information, names and numbers of your policies, payout amounts, and named beneficiaries.
     

  5. Set up disability insurance coverage, if needed for your care.
     

  6. Select a Power of Attorney who can act on your behalf if needed.
     

  7. Put together an estate planning team (lawyer, accountant, financial and estate planner, and executor).
     

  8. If you require a recommendation, contact your wealth advisor for information.


In the end, estate planning is about ensuring your wishes are respected and your assets are safeguarded for your loved ones. Consulting qualified professionals, such as your wealth advisor at SCU, will ensure you stay on track and do just that.

 

*Government of Manitoba, Public Guardian and Trustee, https://www.gov.mb.ca/publictrustee/mia/death.html

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