You spend your entire working life saving for retirement. Once in a while, it’s important to step back and ask yourself the bigger questions. How do I want to be remembered? How can I share what I’ve spent my life building with those that matter the most to me? What legacy will I leave behind? It’s also important to share the answers to these questions and include them in an estate plan. It can help ensure that your assets are transferred to the people you want to receive them in the most hassle-free and tax-effective way possible.

Fulfilling your final wishes

The cornerstone of every estate plan is a will. If you die without a valid will, your assets will be distributed as provided for by law; that may not be the way you intended. For example, most people think that their spouse will automatically inherit all of their assets if they die without a will. In fact, in most provinces, your spouse will receive a preferential share of your estate, with the balance being divided equally between your spouse and your children.

Questions to ponder

There are many questions you’ll need to answer before you can draw up a valid will, such as:

  1. Who are your beneficiaries – current and any future family members?
  2. How do you want to share your estate among these beneficiaries?
  3. Who will you nominate as residuary beneficiary, if the main beneficiaries die?
  4. Do you want to leave part of your estate to a charitable organization?
  5. Who will you appoint as executor(s) for your will, including alternates?
  6. Who will be the guardian for your children and do you want to nominate an amount of maintenance for your children?
  7. Do you want to include specific directions about your funeral arrangements and pay for it in advance?
  8. If you own a business or are a shareholder, do you need to consider estate planning?
  9. If you are establishing a trust, have you decided on a suitable trustee(s)?
  10. Where will you put your will? Have you told the executor where to find it?

Sun Life Financial advisors have access to Estate & Financial Planning Services (EFPS) specialists who will meet with you to review your financial situation and prepare a written report with recommendations covering a variety of objectives. EFPS also provides consultations for specific problems such as estate planning or retirement planning or related business issues. Coordinating family and business interests, as well as legal and financial concerns is important when assessing long-range financial plans.

Don’t have an advisor? There are some key questions to ask yourself so that you can find a qualified professional who can help you reach your goals and make your wishes come to life.

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