TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 24, 2012) - As part of BMO Financial Group's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and 'Making Money Make Sense' for Canadians, BMO is releasing a financial tip every week in 2012.
BMO's Financial Tip of the Week: Draft a will that reflects how you want your estate to be distributed upon death.
"There's a common misconception that wills are only necessary for people with children or who have a lot of money; that's simply not the case," said Sara Plant, Vice President and National Director, BMO Harris Private Banking. "Regardless of your marital or parental status, or level of wealth, a will is an essential part of estate planning. It provides clear directions to your executors about how you want your assets to be distributed."
According to a BMO study, more than half of Canadians (56 per cent) have a will. And sixty per cent of those without a will intend to draft one in the future.
BMO Harris Private Banking offers tips to keep in mind when drafting a will:
Consider the timing: Draft a will as soon as you own assets or start a family. If you are thinking about leaving money to your children, consider whether they will receive it all at once or over time.
Your choice of executor is important: Settling an estate can be complicated and requires knowledge of tax, inheritance and family property laws. There are close to 70 separate duties that must be carried out - more if the estate is complex. Before drafting a will, choose who will manage your estate, such as a relative, friend or trust company. The latter can complete the numerous required tasks on the executor's behalf, keeping them informed every step of the way. This service is particularly useful for executors who live far from the estate for which they are responsible.
Keep talking: Communicate with your immediate family so that those who will be impacted by your passing will know the plan. Share the overall theme of the will, but not necessarily the dollar amounts since they could change over time.
Review Regularly: While it is a best practice to review your will every time you file your taxes, most people revisit their will when there is a life change such as new assets or new people that might impact your estate planning; typically, this happens every seven to 10 years. Take that time to make sure your wishes are in place and seek professional assistance to make any necessary amendments.
For more information on estate planning, please visit: www.bmo.com/estate.
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About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.