Fall is a great time for some spring cleaning. I like to recycle, repurpose and reuse, out with the old, the unused and the broken – organization is the key. My train of thought during the organization process veers off in many directions mostly to avoid the pitfall of “maybe I will use this thingamajigger” and today it veered off into the world of music when the radio played a familiar song.
I recall last year when the musician Prince passed away suddenly – I remember not only because two of my colleagues are huge fans and rather distraught but also because he passed away without a will and approximately $150 million in assets. Over a year later and the estate is still not settled.
If you die without a will in Canada, your estate will be administered and distributed under the provincial intestate succession legislation where you lived. This is why it is very important to first create your will and secondly revisit it and update if necessary every few years. Family circumstances change, sometimes very quickly. Someone you appointed as an Executor one year may have passed on or may not be in a situation to be an Executor the next.
An Executor is left with a rather long list of things to accomplish so the more organized and detailed the will and instructions the easier his or her job will be. We tend to think of the role in terms of executing the will and distributing the assets but they must also deal with things like cancelling or returning credit cards, social insurance cards, passports, drivers license and health cards.
In the world of internet and online platforms, there are now digital assets for executors to possibly contend with as well. Things like social media profiles, reward points or systems are things we do not normally associate with Estates but they may still exist and need to be closed or converted to someone else.
Pets are another consideration that often get overlooked and the onus most often falls on the Executor(s) to determine what happens to the animals that are left behind.
If you should become incapacitated without a Power of Attorney for Property, all your financial activities will be stagnant until a proper Attorney is appointed, through a court application. This can be a time consuming process so again it is very important to have these things in place before a situation occurs.
Just like Spring cleaning, organizing your affairs is a necessary and worthwhile activity. We have a great tool called the “Family Inventory” that can assist you in your organization. If you are interested, please email my associate at [email protected] and she would be happy to send it you.
Good Health to all!
This article is supplied by Elizabeth O’Connor, an Investment Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. (Member–Canadian Investor Protection Fund). This article is for information purposes only. Please consult with a professional advisor before taking any action based on information in this article.
This information is not intended as nor does it constitute tax or legal advice. Readers should consult their own lawyer, accountant or other professional advisor when planning to implement a strategy. RBC Dominion Securities Inc.* and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. RBC Dominion Securities Inc. is a member company of RBC Wealth Management, a business segment of Royal Bank of Canada. ®Registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. ©2016 RBC Dominion Securities Inc. All rights reserved.
Elizabeth O’Connor can be reached at 705-789-2100 or [email protected]
Whether you are looking for a full time, full service financial advisor or seeking expert financial advice as a second opinion, call Elizabeth. With offices in Haliburton, Huntsville and Bracebridge, Elizabeth works closely with clients in cottage country from the lakes and surrounding towns.
Elizabeth O’Connor is an Investment Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities, which is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. 705-789-2100