Minimize taxes while planning your estate

Estate planning has been receiving a good deal of press lately because changes in taxation and family law, and the rising costs of settling an estate have made careful planning more essential than ever. While there is a natural reluctance to talk about passing on wealth, you will lose control of the life-long accumulation of your assets if you don’t spend the time formally planning their disposition.

Estate planning is long range personal planning aimed at ensuring that your assets and earnings do you the most good while you are alive, and your heirs the most good after you die. The three fundamental objectives behind the creation of a plan are to ensure you have adequate funds to cover estate costs, to conserve your wealth by sheltering as much money from taxation as possible, and to guarantee fair distribution of your assets upon death.

While estate planning tends to focus on death, you should prepare throughout your life by attempting to maximize savings and minimize income tax. It is vital to take the time to prepare a will. Many people do not realize that if they should die “intestate”, provincial laws will dictate the timing and allocation of asset disposition.
&l;PIt may be difficult to pass wealth on effectively without a will, and for this reason, it is not only important to draft one, but also to review it every few years. If you don’t take the time to organize your estate carefully, your plans are not likely to be fulfilled. While no one likes to talk about planning for death, your wishes can be filled with as little aggravation to you as possible if you take a few simple steps. Seek qualified tax and legal advice and take action today.

If you would like to learn more about estate planning, contact your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor or the CARP Retirement & Savings Program Manager at 1 800 563-6623 or [email protected]

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. is not a tax advisor and we recommend that clients seek independent advice on tax related matters.

Financial Tips courtesy of Merrill Lynch Canada Inc.