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During your life, you have accumulated property, investments and possessions. This accumulation is referred to as your “estate”. If you die without leaving instructions, the courts in each province are authorized to distribute your possessions according to the laws of the province.

Estate planning involves considering what you want done with the assets you have accumulated. With careful planning, your property will be disposed of in the manner you want. When planning your estate, you should consider the following:

  • Assessing survivor income needs and owning enough life insurance to meet those needs
  • Preparing a will
  • Disposing of property outside a will
  • Preparing powers of attorney
  • Setting up a trust, if needed

Did You Know?

Estate planning matters are generally regulated under provincial legislation. Rules and regulations can and do vary across Canada. Keep well informed of changes, as they could affect your plan. Ensure you evaluate your personal situation periodically and when a significant change occurs (such as a marriage, divorce, or birth of a child/grandchild). Moving between provinces is also a good time to review and update your plan as necessary.

Tips

  • Depending on where you live, marriage may or may not revoke a will; divorce does not. Upon divorce or separation, it’s usually advisable to make a new will.
  • The powers you grant under an enduring power of attorney should not be in conflict with the provisions of your will, or any other instructional documents.
  • Any assignments of authority you may wish to give, and other important instructions you may have, should be made part of your will.
  • Occasionally, items of property are bequeathed to a person and that person predeceases the testator. In this case, the testator may wish to give those specific properties to someone else.