TORONTO, July 24, 2020 /CNW/ - While Canadians and their families are facing situations of economic, political, and personal uncertainty, estate planning remains as relevant as ever. The current time of crisis can be the catalyst to implement an estate plan for the first time, or simply to review and adjust existing plans. Does the plan still reflect the family's intentions on incapacity and/or death despite the recent market upheavals and uncertainties of the future?
"While most families find discussions about death and money to be challenging, these conversations are necessary to help set expectations and to develop a plan for inevitable times of transition in the future," said Lesley Cameron, Vice President, National Director of Estate Planning Services, BMO Wealth Management. "Working with an advisor and their team of experts can help clients build a comprehensive estate plan that outlines the clients' legacy goals, while incorporating solutions that will keep the estate plan flexible in the event of market fluctuations and the uncertain economic future."
BMO Wealth Management encourages Canadians and their families to have a regular review of the following key issues when stress testing their estate plans:
- The important documents: Consider the impact recent events and market uncertainty will have on existing estate plans. Do the wills, powers of attorney, beneficiary designations, and trust deeds still reflect the family's priorities and intentions? Similarly, regular review of business agreements and governing corporate documents with business partners and external advisors ensures all parties understand the succession plans and can identify areas that may require adjustments in accordance with market conditions.
- The practical realities: Reflect on the logistics of implementing the family's intentions in the current environment. A good first step is ensuring loved ones know where important documents are located. Consider whether the chosen attorneys and executors will be able to act based on possible travel restrictions or additional demands on their time. Establishing alternatives for when the first choice is unavailable is encouraged. An oft-missed consideration is whether the estate has sufficient liquidity to cover debts and income tax that will be owed by the estate. A review of whether there is suitable insurance coverage is critical.
- The difficult conversations: Regular discussions on the intended distribution of assets and accounting for financial assistance given to family members can help set their expectations. Prepare them or the beneficiaries of the estate for future difficult decisions by discussing their responsibilities assigned under powers of attorney and wills.
For more information about BMO Wealth Management, please visit: bmo.com/main/wealth-management
About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $987 billion as of April 30, 2020, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
SOURCE BMO Financial Group