The novelty of the holidays has finally worn off and we can now officially welcome the arrival of 2015. The New Year brings an opportunity for new beginnings and self-reflection—it also brings the not-so-welcome credit card bill. For those of us who were frivolous with our finances over the holidays, this can act as a catalyst for creating financial resolutions. According to an annual poll conducted by CIBC, 22 per cent of Canadians are aiming to reduce their household debt while 12 per cent of those surveyed said contributing to a savings account would take precedence over other financial goals. Of the thousand Canadians who participated in the poll, only five per cent said retirement planning was a priority for the New Year. So where does that leave you?
If you aren’t among those who have committed to a resolution, why not consider planning your estate? There’s no denying that death and money can be two delicate topics of discussion, and confronting your mortality doesn’t exactly sound like an enjoyable start to a New Year. As challenging as it might seem, an essential part of estate planning is communicating your end-of-life goals with your friends and family. Because the death of a loved one can impact several people in a family, a conversation outlining the roles and responsibilities of those involved in your estate will ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your last wishes.
Where There is a Will, There is an Executor
You’ve probably done your fair share of research and know that when it comes to estate planning, writing a Will is only the tip of the iceberg. A Will includes an inventory of your assets and lists the names of all beneficiaries, as well as the designated executor or the trustee responsible for the administration of your estate. In addition to making several of the immediate decisions following your death, executors play a significant role in settling your estate and assume legal liability when carrying out your Will. When choosing one, do so wisely—legally, they will be responsible for handling your assets, paying your debts and dividing your estate among your beneficiaries accordingly.
The role of an executor is often stressful and conflict may arise if there are multiple beneficiaries—in cases where the estate of deceased consists of substantial assets or real estate, hiring an estate lawyer is highly recommended.
Results from the survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of CIBC were gathered from a sample of 1,014 Canadians between November 13 and 17, 2014. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20.