5 Estate Planning Mistakes To Avoid

Estate planning - Keith Thomson, CFP®, CIM®, FCSI®For many, estate planning isn’t exactly an appealing activity. However, it is an important thing to do in order to ensure your last wishes are properly carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of. Here are some common mistakes to be on the lookout for:

1.) Not giving enough thought to the executor. Being the executor of an estate is a BIG responsibility. That individual will have a lot of duties, including making funeral arrangements, filing estate tax returns, and accounting for estate financial activities. 84% of Canadians named a friend or family member as their estate executor, according to a recent Yahoo! Finance article. This can be a risky move because that individual may not be mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with the title.

2.) Only having a will. While a will is an important piece in the estate planning puzzle, it is not the only piece. Individuals will also want to consider power of attorney, health directives, financial directives, trusts, etc. While 81% of retired Canadians have a will, less than half have either a current health directive or financial directive.1 Not having all of the puzzle pieces in place can lead to mass confusion and delays in settling your estate.

3.) Not being open about your wishes and decisions. A lot of individuals don’t discuss their estate before their death. Instead, friends and family members are simply surprised after the fact. It can be a good idea to discuss how you want your estate to be handled in order to ensure everyone is on the same page. This method can cut down on arguments later on among friends and family.

4.) Not knowing your options. As mentioned above, many individuals think having a will is the extent of estate planning. It isn’t. However, how can you know what you don’t know? Consider consulting a lawyer and a financial planner to learn your estate planning options, ensure that your documents are done correctly, and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

5.) Not having liquid assets. It is important that your estate has some liquid assets (cash) on hand. While your estate is being sorted out, bills will still need to be paid. If cash isn’t readily available and bills can’t be paid, this could result in late fees, penalties, and other problems.1

1. https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/top-estate-planning-mistakes-040228630.html

This material is provided for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities mentioned herein and is not intended for, or available to, residents of the U.S.A. or its territories or possessions. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however, no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please speak with your investment professional before acting on the information contained herein. All opinions expressed and data provided herein are subject to change without notice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Stonegate Private Counsel, a division of CI Private Counsel or its affiliates.


Keith N. Thomson

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