The last thing you want to do is leave your family with an unplanned, unfinished estate plan. A carefully prepared estate plan can help alleviate stress and allow your loved ones valuable time to grieve. No matter your age, through planning what happens to your estate, you will have a good amount of say in whether your estate will be bequeathing treasured assets and personal items to family and friends or be liquidated to satisfy creditors.
At Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary we are independent brokers and can look after your life insurance needs. Whether you elect to purchase a term or whole life insurance policy, either is one of the cornerstones of sound estate planning.
More Considerations for Estate Planning
If you haven’t already done so, you should take an inventory of your home and make a list of all your physical possessions that are valuable in either cash or sentimental terms. You should also list the details of all of your real estate, automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles, etcetera.
To this list you should append a another list of any non-physical assets you own. Here you should note your life insurance policies, including the information necessary for your survivors. You should also list any investment accounts, GICs, RRSPs, pensions, annuities, and also identify the policies that cover your home, automobiles, vacation properties and the information necessary to continue coverage on those items until such a time as their final disposition is settled.
Make a separate page that in one place confirms who exactly are the beneficiaries of your various insurance policies, or who your pension payments will go to, and so on. Ensure that this list matches the information on file with the insurers and pension fund.
A less pleasant list is also essential for your survivors to know about — an inventorying of your financial liabilities. Begin with all of your secured debts against your home, business, automobiles, and other financially encumbered physical items. To this list add all of your unsecured debts, such as lines of credit, open credit cards, with and without balances, and even personal loans made by friends or family that might be a source of contention after your death.
If you have made any pledges of annual support to a religious association, university, or a charitable group you should list these as well to ensure that your favourite causes aren’t affected by your death.
Also recognise that in the Information Age it is incredibly difficult for your survivors to sniff out all of your online user names and passwords. Make sure that you leave a thorough listing of these behind as you can manage. You never know how it might come in handy for your spouse to be able to access your email, social media, or online banking sites, and having them be able to do so can assist in avoiding identity theft. Without such a list, many websites will not assist in accessing online account details without your survivors first jumping through a lot of hoops.