COVID-19 spurs estate planning review

By The IJ Staff | July 27 2020 10:00AM

While Canadians and their families are facing uncertain economic and personal uncertainty during COVID-19, they need to remember that estate planning remains as relevant as ever, according to BMO Wealth Management.

"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 at 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."

Build a comprehensive estate plan with advisor

Now is the time to implement an estate plan for the first time or review and adjust existing plans and BMO Wealth Management is encouraging Canadians and their families to have a regular review of the following key issues when stress testing their estate plans:

Included are topics such as whether 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.

Know where relevant documents are kept

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.

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.

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