Oct 20 2017

Attention Sears Canada Employees: Part 1

Attention Sears Canada Employees: Part 1

This article applies to most employees being terminated from their employment. I’ll use the current Sears Canada situation because as of the time of writing this article, there were numerous employees being severed from their jobs earlier this year and now with Sears Canada being shut down, this situation can apply to a lot of employees.

Having been a former Nortel employee, I know what it’s like to lose your job and the turmoil that happens especially in the first few months.  If you’re not retiring, then finding a new job is priority one.  Lower on the priority list is continued Health and Dental coverage.

This article focuses specifically on Health and Dental Plans.

Why It May Be a Time Sensitive Decision for You

When you leave you employer, you will lose your employee benefits.  Manulife offers a unique program called FollowMe™ Health whereby, you can purchase a benefit plan if you do so within 60 days of leaving your former employer without “evidence of insurability”.  Why might this be important?  If for example, you are diabetic and you try to purchase a plan that is “underwritten”, you would most likely be declined i.e. no coverage.

What Types of Plans are Offered?

You can choose from four different FollowMe Health plans, depending on your needs
and budget. There are plans with or without dental benefits and with varying levels of prescription drug coverage, plus coverage for vision care, massage therapy,hearing aids and much more. You can also add emergency medical travel insurance to your plan for a small additional fee.

Special Note:

If you were let go from Sears Canada and are outside the 60 day window, Manulife has a special limited time offer that you can purchase FollowMe™ Health before November 9, 2017. Click here to learn more.

Please email me directly for further information or to apply!

*Limitations, restrictions, and exclusions may apply.

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Oct 18 2017

Open a Manulife Advantage Account ONLINE – Earn 2.25% [*1] interest through April 2018!

Open a Manulife Advantage Account ONLINE

– Earn 2.25% [1] interest through April 2018!

I’m excited to share details on an exclusive, limited-time offer Manulife Bank has made available to select advisors, including myself. I believe this opportunity may be a great complement to your current financial plan.

High interest rate on new everyday banking and savings account
Apply for a personal, non-registered, Canadian-dollar Advantage Account online now and you’ll receive an interest rate of 2.25% [1] on every deposit you make to your new account through March 16 2018.[1]

You’ll also receive:

  • A high interest rate on every deposit2 – higher than rates offered by most financial institutions — to help build your savings, and
  • Everyday banking features and services, such as:
    • An Interac Flash® access card to make direct purchases and bank at more than 3,500 automated banking machines (ABM) across Canada that make up THE EXCHANGE® Network – the second largest ABM network in the country.
    • The ability to transfer funds, pay bills and send Interac® eTransfers conveniently using online or mobile banking, and
    • Free, unlimited everyday banking when you have a balance of $5,000 or more in your account.[2]

Easy Online Application

Applying for an account online is easy and convenient; the process will likely take five minutes or less to complete. Click here to begin your application.

Please contact me if you have further questions.


[1] Promotional rate only applies to the net daily account balance up to a maximum of $250,000 (Canadian dollars) during the offer period. Deposit(s) that exceed this amount, up to and including $2 million, are entitled to our regular posted variable interest rate only.

[2] Everyday banking fees for ABM cash withdrawals, Interac direct payments (debit), Interac e-Transfer and bill payments are waived when the account balance is $5,000 or more. All other everyday withdrawal and deposit transactions are free at any balance. Other convenience fees may apply to withdrawals made at ABMs that are not part of THE EXCHANGE® Network and direct-payment purchases using your Manulife Bank access card. Visit manulifebank.ca for additional details.

[3] To qualify for this offer, you must apply for a new personal, non-registered, Canadian-dollar Advantage Account using Manulife Bank’s online application process (client.manulifebank.com). The promotional interest rate of 2.25% is made up of the regular posted variable annual interest rate of 1.10% and the variable annual promotional rate of 1.15%, calculated daily and paid monthly from Oct. 11,2017 to April 30, 2018 on net new deposits received from Oct. 11, 2017 through March 16, 2018. Rates are as at Oct. 11, 2017 and subject to change without notice. Visit client.manulifebank.com for full terms and conditions.

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Oct 18 2017

FollowMe Limited Time Offer from Manulife until November 9 2017

FollowMeTM Health Insurance Special Offer until November 9

Whether you were ever covered by an employer sponsored Health and Dental Plan or not, Manulife has a special limited time offer until November 9, 2017: the FollowMe™ Health individual insurance plan.

Normally you can only apply for FollowMeTM Health Insurance within 60-days of leaving any existing group plan but until November 9, 2017, Manulife is waiving the 60-day application window, making FollowMe Health available to you now.*

Whether you are retired or not, help ensure you’re  health-care costs don’t derail your financial plans. 

Your Acceptance is Guaranteed!

FollowMe Health is  guaranteed acceptance meaning no medical questions when you apply. 

What Types of Plans are Offered?

You can choose from four different FollowMe Health plans, depending on your needs
and budget. There are plans with or without dental benefits and with varying levels of prescription drug coverage, plus coverage for vision care, massage therapy,hearing aids and much more. You can also add emergency medical travel insurance to your plan for a small additional fee.

Please contact me for further information or to apply!

*Limitations, restrictions, and exclusions may apply.

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Aug 09 2017

Dying in Ontario is Now More Complicated

Dying in Ontario is Now More Complicated

Ontario enacted new regulations to the estate settlement process on January 1, 2015. What this means is that now there’s more red tape and delays settling an estate. It’s also more work and responsibility for the executor who implements the wishes of the testator.

What Major Changes Have Been Implemented

  • Enhanced compliance by transferring administration of the fee from the Ministry of the Attorney General to the Ministry of Revenue/Finance.

Estate Trustees (executors), will face greater scrutiny and accountability with hefty consequences for knowingly fabricating information; fines range from $1,000 to double the EAT payable plus up to two years of incarceration. Tougher penalties will also increase the difficulty of defending innocent errors. EAT inspectors also have the authority to request information from any person, not just the estate trustee. In addition, the Ministry of revenue may assess or reassess for up to four years from the application for the certificate of appointment, with an unlimited time frame if the information return is not filed or, if it is filed and there is any indication of neglect, carelessness, willful default or fraud.

  • Executors will be required to file an “Estate Information Return” with the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days after the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is issued by the government. That is, once the executor applies for and receives a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee, the executor must submit a detailed Estate Information Return within 90 calendar days to provide details of how the estate’s value was determined. Failure to do so can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

What Executors (Estate Trustees) Should Do

Find out if you are in fact, an executor. If you are, I would recommend getting a copy of the will and reviewing it. Is it fully clear to you what your testator wants done for their estate? If not, you should get professional advice.  Being an executor is a very stressful role and should not be taken lightly. An executor might be flattered that the testator held you in such high regard, but this “honor” comes with heightened responsibility.  Are you aware that you risk personal liability for any mistakes made?

What Testators Should Do

It has never been more important to have your affairs in order.  Firstly, while it goes without saying, you should have a will. Discuss your wishes with your executor and make sure they know they know and understand the details of your will. Make it easier on everyone involved!

If you don’t have a will, it’s called dying intestate and the government has a whole other process for settling your estate. The bottom line is that you won’t have a say in how your estate is divided among your beneficiaries. 

What I Have Done

As a certified financial planner, I find estate planning is complex as many people have unique situations. To better address the needs of clients in this regard, I recently completed the Certified Executor Advisor (CEA) program. As the title states, it focuses on helping executors better understand their role and responsibility when this duty comes into effect. It also highlights the areas I can better advise on strategies to consider (i.e. how to plan to pay less taxes and lower probate fees, just to name a few) while the testator is still alive.

Summary

  1. Take a proactive approach to estate planning whether you are the testator or an executor. You need to work together.
  2. Review the book, Estate Planning Through Family Meetings is worth reading.
  3. Consider working with a certified financial planner, CFP who has their Certified Executor Advisor, CEA, accreditation. The CFPs six-step financial planning framework combined with a CEAs training can be a blueprint for success. 

I know it’s a tough topic for families to deal with but It’s never to late to start!

 


Footnotes:

1:  Implementation of the New Probate Rules in Ontario 

 


For those unfamiliar with estate planning terminology, below are a few definitions.

  1. A testator is the person who has passed away i.e. the deceased.
  2. An estate trustee (executor) is the person named in the will, that looks after the final affairs of the deceased. This starts with overseeing the funeral and then following the legal process whereby an individual’s assets are distributed according to his/her wishes,
  3. Probate refers to a court procedure by which a will is proven to be valid or invalid.
  4. Estate Administration Tax (EAT)  is more commonly known as the “probate fee”. This fee aka “tax” is 1.5% on the first $50,000 of an estate’s value and ½% on the balance. For example on a $1,000,000 estate, the EAT or probate fee works out to $14,500.

 

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May 29 2017

Good Estate Planning Articles

Good Estate Planning Articles

Estate Planning

Estate Planning : It’s about more than who gets your castle!

Below is a collection of what I consider good educational articles about estate planning.

Estate Planning: When There Isn’t a Will… What is the Way?

Creating a will can be an emotional experience, however not having one can cause greater emotional turmoil for those left behind…but according to a recent study, half of Canadians (50 per cent) do not have a will, a crucial step in allocating assets after death…read more.

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