estate-planning-2-0

At least $1 trillion could soon change hands as baby boomers age and begin to leave their assets to younger generations, says RBC.

Wealthy Canadians alone held close to $900 billion in investable assets in 2013 and with improving economic conditions that figure is likely to grow. Baby boomers must ensure that their estate plans are crystal clear about how a lifetime of hard-earned assets will be managed upon their death.

When planning an estate

Meet your client’s spouse. If you only have a relationship with your client consider an informal meet-and-greet with his or her spouse, and possibly other family members. This will help the surviving spouse and other family members continue working with you.

Read: Don’t make estate administration mistakes

Take a family inventory. Compile a list of your client and his or her spouse’s banking and investment accounts, other advisors they work with, assets, pension information and insurance policies. Don’t forget about his or her digital legacy, including e-mail accounts and passwords, social media profiles and domain names. Share and discuss this information with his or her spouse.

Read: Wealthy to leave 30% of estates to children

Tell the family about your client’s financial plan. Involving the family in the financial planning process can mean that they are more likely to understand each other’s needs, goals and concerns.

Read: Planning smart for estate taxes

Choose the right executor. Spouses can act as each other’s executors, but it’s an onerous task. If a spouse isn’t able to take on the job, alternatives include other family members, professionals such as a family lawyer, or a trust company.

Read: What to ask before taking the executor’s job

Build a business succession plan – Business owners should consider have a succession plan in place that addresses the needs of the business and the surviving spouse if they are involved in the business.

Read: Help a widow sell her business

Communicate. If your client’s spouse will be the first heir of his or her estate, and especially if he or she is also the executor, facilitate regular discussions about your client’s goals and plans for his or her legacy.

Read: Help families talk about money

Clients today are looking for an increased level of support around how to achieve their life goals, including how and where they will retire, how will they manage their business, how they can ensure their children are taken care of, having the right amount of insurance, and how they can contribute to philanthropic causes, says RBC.

Originally published on Advisor.ca

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