The largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history is here! To the tune of $1 Trillion over the next 10 years. Careful estate planning can make an enormous difference in the amount of wealth and assets your heirs actually receive.
Choosing an Executor is a very important step in the estate planning process and a tremendous responsibility. Your executor is your fiduciary, your trustee, who will have unlimited personal liability. Ideally, they should be younger than you and live close to you. They will need to secure all of your property, notify creditors, apply for grant of probate, pay the probate fees and capital gains taxes. They will also need to identify your beneficiaries and distribute your assets.
Sounds simple, right? If you have been in this situation, you know that administering an estate can be complex. Family dynamics, second marriages, family businesses and vacation properties can all present challenges. There may be beneficiaries who need money before it is available or disagree with the distribution of assets. Executors are also increasingly under pressure for accurate reporting of property and assets and can be held liable if a beneficiary disputes any asset value. An appraiser may be needed if your estate includes a valuable collection or one of your properties has had a significant increase in value.
How can we ease the burden on our executors?
Let your executor and your family know your plans and wishes. By doing this, you may prevent conflicts, resentments and heartache. Have an updated Will and an inventory of your assets and debts. Include bank accounts, investment and insurance policy numbers.
Mistakes can happen, such as improper handling of estate investments. If you foresee problems, there are tools available, such as Executor Insurance. This is particularly important where Trust Funds are concerned. If you have a high a net worth or a complex estate, you may want to appoint a Professional Executor. Most Trust companies can provide this service.
Advisors are needed now more than ever, to guide you and help you make your executors’ job easier during this emotionally challenging time. Financial Advisors can help you plan the most tax efficient distribution strategies and solutions for your estate, in order to keep more money in your beneficiaries pockets!
 1 “Investor Economics Household Balance Sheet Report—Canada,” Investor Economics, 2019