There is more to estate planning than simply writing a Will. Knowing and accounting for all of your assets will ensure your last wishes and directives are executed smoothly after your death. 

Thorough planning means ensuring your assets are transferred in an efficient manner as possible to the people or entities you wish to receive them. Also, you should make sure that your personal representative or those whom you leave in charge of your estate administration are aware of your Will and understand your wishes.

This checklist exemplifies five (5) important things that you should consider before you die, to simplify the estate process for your loved ones. Follow this checklist and you’ll have the most important factors covered.

1. Itemize Your Assets

To start, go through your home and make a list of all valuable items, such as the home itself, art and antiques, jewellery, collectibles, electronics, and vehicles. Then, go through your personal effects and gather all documents pertaining to other assets that you own, such as other properties (cottages, investment properties, boats, etc.), bank accounts, RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, Stocks, Bonds, Shares, and/or any businesses you own. Having this list readily available for your estate trustee or personal representative aids in their ascertaining of your assets after your death. 

2. List of Your Debts

Make a separate list of credit card debts and other obligations that you may have. This should include mortgages, auto loans, lines of credit, and any other debt that you owe. It is important to add the account numbers, contact information of the companies holding the debt and the location of the signed agreements.

3. Update Your Insurance

Just like retirement accounts, your life insurance policy will pass to your beneficiaries. It is important to contact all of your insurance companies where you have policies to ensure that your beneficiaries are updated and listed correctly.

4. Complete Important Documents

You should create and complete important documents, such as a Will and power of attorneys. Further, you should consider setting up both both financial and medical powers of attorney so that those you trust will be able to handle your affairs should something happen to you. Copies of these documents should be given to all concerned individuals.

5. Visit An Estate Attorney

It is a good idea to consult with an estate attorney to make sure that you have covered everything regarding your estate. As you get older, your needs may change. A legal professional can assist you with protecting your estate from high tax bills and lengthy court processes. They are also knowledgeable about statutes and legislations that could impact your bequests.

If you have additional questions about estate planning, do not hesitate to contact Arkadiusz J. Empel at Empel Law, by dialling 416-479-8531 (ext. 101).

Po Polsku (In Polish)

Arkadiusz J. Empel urodził się w Polsce, w Katowicach. Jest biegły w języku polskim i służy pomocą klientom w sprawach lokalnych oraz zagranicznych. Po pomoc oraz poradę w języku polskim proszę dzwonić pod numer 416.479.8531, wewnętrzny 101.