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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May 15 2017

Good Risk Management Planning Articles

Good Risk Management Planning Articles

Below is a collection of what I consider good educational articles about Risk Management Planning.


Life insurance: Is “Term Life” always enough?

Most families are better off buying cheap, straightforward term insurance, but there are situations where universal or whole life policies make sense..…read more

Disability and Critical Illness Insurance: Preparing for the worst

If you had a crippling accident or were diagnosed with a critical illness tomorrow, would your family be able to cope? …read more.

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Mar 01 2017

Travel Insurance Rider for Hockey Players

Travel Insurance Rider for Hockey Players

I know a lot of individuals who travel to the US for hockey tournaments or exhibition games.

Last year, TuGo Travel insurance added a “rider” for sporting events like hockey to be covered. A “rider” is an addon to a basic travel insurance policy.

In a recent discussion with my associate at TuGo,  he mentioned the following.

“Hockey, recreational or professional is covered with the “Contact sports rider”. The rider is required for anyone participating in, coaching, teaching, training or practicing  on behalf of a registered team, league, association, club or while competing in a registered tournament, competition or sporting event even when not professional. Unless the client is under 18 then he does not need the rider.”

Click here to download the Optional Sports Coverage PDF which provides more details on this rider. Additionally, it lists not just “contact sports” but also “adventure” and “extreme” sports that you may consider participating in when you are outside Canada.

 


 

If you are in need of travel insurance, I would appreciate the opportunity to provide a quote.  I can do the application directly with you over the phone and accept credit card payments for this service. If you prefer to do a quote yourself, here’s a link to one of my prime travel insurance partners, that I am contracted with. Click here for TuGo Travel Insurance.

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Jan 14 2017

Good Retirement Income Planning Articles

Good Retirement Income Planning Articles

 

Below is a collection of what I consider good educational articles about Retirement Income Planning.

 

 


Why You Should Think ‘smile’ When Planning Your Retirement Spending Path

A phenomenon called the “retirement spending smile,” whereby expenses often decline during the early years of retirement, before reaching an inflection point and rising in the second half of retirement — in the shape of a smile.…read more

Best to Consult a Financial Adviser for Retirement Assessment

Where will your cash flow come from after you have retired? There are government pensions, your personal savings and, if you’re lucky, an employer pension plan...read more.

The four reasons that retirement is costing Canadians more than ever

Retirement is getting more expensive for Canadians and it has been for quite a while. But despite soaring prices for some popular items at the grocery store, the broader cost of living is not the prime culprit. Rather, retirement is costing  more due to four primary factors, namely, longevity, pension trends, interest rates and investment fees….read more.

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