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Open and honest communication with both your Investment Advisor as well as with your loved ones can help negate the potential conflict and lost financial planning opportunities available to your family when transferring wealth from one generation to the next. Parents’ wishes don't always align with their children and siblings don't always agree on the distribution of the estate. It is not the easiest conversation to have but avoiding one could result in a conflict that surpasses the last time Monopoly was taken off the shelf for family game night. 

We Canadians are not subjected to an outright "Estate tax” or “inheritance tax” like our neighbors to the south. That does not mean that we are not vulnerable to potentially significant tax implications that arise before the assets within the estate can be transferred to its beneficiaries. 

Let's face it, you have worked hard for the wealth that you have accumulated throughout your lifetime, and it being ravished by the CRA after death is far from ideal. Communication is essential to negate paying more tax than you are legally obligated to. Here are a few important points to keep in mind the next time you're discussing your estate with your loved ones. 

Business Owners 

If you are a business owner, your business is most likely your most important asset. Estate planning also gets a little bit more complicated. You will have to address issues related to the succession of the business, as well as be subjected to more complicated tax issues. In this case, it is advisable to seek the help of a financial professional that can assist with crafting a financial plan that can simplify the transfer process while minimizing taxes and other expenses. 

The Family Cottage 

For many, a Cottage is a place of fond memories, a special place where a family can get away for the weekend. To keep those memories fond and maintain harmony within your family, careful succession planning is essential. An important part of  this planning process is yet again, open and honest communication of your intentions with all beneficiaries of the property.

Failure to do so can result in conflicts that could split families apart. Many parents make the wrongful assumption that their kids get along and therefore when an issue arises regarding the cottage it will work itself out, but this is rarely the case.

Holding a meeting with your offspring and gauging their interest in ownership of the property can help alleviate tension between siblings when the asset is transferred. Another way to ensure that the transition goes smoothly is to lay out in writing issues such as, who has access to the property, who is responsible for the overhead costs, and sales options. 

In most cases when you're transferring a cottage to the next generation of kin. There will be a land transfer tax as well as a tax relating to any capital gains incurred during the “sale”. Simply gifting your children the cabin does not eliminate the tax owed on Capital gains. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the amount owed by making your cottage your principal residence to take advantage of the principal residence exemption on capital gains, but keep in mind you can only have one principal residence at a time and so other properties such as a house in the city needs to be considered as well. For the older folks that are thinking about cabin succession the most significant financial risk that faces them is putting it off. 

Living trusts 

Utilizing a Living trust is a great way to ensure that you are protecting your assets before and after death.  A trust functions as an intermediary between you and your beneficiaries. Utilizing a living trust can help:

  •  Improve Flexibility of your Estate Plan 
  • Reduce probate costs and avoid the delays that are associated with probate proceedings 
  • Transfer assets that are not stated within the will with discretion
  • Eliminate or reduce executor fees for estate administration

While estate planning may not be the most comfortable topic to bring up at your next family dinner, it is a necessary discussion to have. While differences in personalities, lifestyles, and values between generations can create conflict within the planning process, it is possible to reach an agreement about how to best manage your family's wealth. By engaging in these types of conversations with your loved ones, you are helping preserve your legacy for generations to come.

Mitchell Cathcart, Marketing associate, Kondwelani Kalinda, Licensed Assistant & Financial Planning Associate and Grant White, Portfolio Manager  at Endeavour Wealth Management with iA Private Wealth, an award-winning office as recognized by the Carson Group. Together, Endeavour Wealth Management provides comprehensive wealth management planning for business owners, professionals and individual families.

This information has been prepared by Mitchell Cathcart, Marketing associate, Kondwelani Kalinda, Licensed Assistant & Financial Planning Associate and Grant White, Portfolio Manager for iA Private Wealth and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of iA Private Wealth. The information contained in this news letter comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. The information contained herein may not apply to all types of investors. The Investment Advisor can open accounts only in the provinces in which they are registered.

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